Earlier Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder is Needed, Say Researchers

In some patients with alcohol and substance abuse problems, some clinicians are failing to also diagnose comorbid bipolar disorder.

Delays in the diagnosis of bipolar disorder, particularly in those with alcohol and substance misuse disorders, could be preventing people from receiving effective treatment for the condition, according to a new study by researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London, and the NIHR.

Published in PLOS ONE, the study found that two months was the average delay from presenting to mental healthcare services to the diagnosis of bipolar disorder. However, in people with and disorders the average delay was two years, with some experiencing delays of over five years. This was in addition to a period of around 10 years from first experiencing symptoms to receiving specialist mental health care.

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