Bipolar Disorder More Common Among Urban Poor -Study

Bipolar disorder may often go undiagnosed and untreated in the urban poor, with one in 10 found to have the mental illness in a study of one New York clinic published on Tuesday.

The 13-month study at the clinic serving low-income patients found that few reported being diagnosed or treated for the illness.

Bipolar disorder is normally treated with a mood stabilizer such as lithium as well as anti-depressants to counteract the swings from dark moods to mania and associated irritability, racing thoughts, decreased need for sleep, talkativeness, and excessive involvement in risky activities.

Prescribing anti-depressants alone to bipolar patients can trigger manic behavior and rapid “cycling” between mania and depression that could lead to suicidal thoughts, said study author Amar Das of the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University.