Patients with bipolar disorder have high rates of medical illness, which often exceeds the levels observed in patients with unipolar depression, show results of a UK-based study.

Researchers found that a high medical illness burden was significantly associated with a history of anxiety disorder , rapid cycling mood episodes, suicide attempts, and mood episodes with a typically acute onset. 

There were no significant differences between the bipolar group with no history of medical illness and those with a high burden of medical illness in the rates of alcohol misuse or smoking.
 

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