According to 12-month prevalence statistics, an estimated 2.6% of US adults have bipolar disorder. While the disease is relatively uncommon, it is associated with significant disability due to the severity of symptoms and the early age of onset. Though approximately 83% of US cases are considered severe, only 18.8% of adult patients in the US receive minimally adequate treatment despite the availability of effective treatments, and treatment rates are particular low in low- and middle-income nations.1 Additionally, the disorder is often underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
The burden related to bipolar disorder is growing along with the population and the number of people living to older ages. It is important to establish accurate prevalence rates to inform mental health policy, research and funding priorities, and intervention strategies to help reduce the burden associated with the disease. To that end, researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle and several Australian universities investigated the global prevalence and burden of bipolar disorder based on data from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 (GBD 2013). Their findings were reported in Bipolar Disorders in August 2016.