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Illness Course, Comorbidity, Gender, and Suicidality in Patients With Bipolar Disorder

Claudia F. Baldassano, MD

Published: August 15, 2006

Article Abstract

Among patients with bipolar disorder, comorbid conditions are common. Comorbidity is associatedwith a more difficult course of illness (such as longer episodes, shorter time euthymic, and earlierage at onset) and an increase in related problems (such as suicidality and violence). Data from theSystematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder (STEP-BD) reveal that anxiety disorders,attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and substance and alcohol use disorder are conditionsthat commonly co-occur with bipolar disorder. This article details these findings and discusses thecomplications associated with these comorbid conditions. STEP-BD data about gender differences arealso discussed, and correlates of suicidal ideation among patients entering the program are described.

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