Study Reveals Bipolar Disorder Increases Risk of Premature Death

Bipolar Disorder Patients Over 6 Times More Likely to Die Early

A new study reveals that individuals with severe bipolar disorder are more than six times more likely to die prematurely.

The risk of death from accidents, violence, or suicide is significantly higher for those with bipolar disorder.

They are also twice as likely to die from physical causes, with alcohol use being a major contributing factor.

Improved interventions aimed at reducing the risk of death due to external causes and alcohol abuse should be developed to prevent premature excess mortality associated with bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder is a prevalent mental health condition

Bipolar disorder is one of the world's most prevalent health problems, with increasing case numbers, particularly among young adults.

In the United States alone, the medical expenses related to bipolar disorder amount to $326 billion annually.

It is more than twice as prevalent as dementia, epilepsy, autism, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Bipolar disorder is a severe mental health condition characterized by manic highs and depressive lows.

Excess risk of death from external causes is substantial across all age groups

Dr. Tapio Paljarvi's team highlights that the excess risk of death from external causes is substantial across all age groups.

Personalized approaches to prediction and prevention are necessary to address the high number of deaths due to suicide.

Simple, scalable models have been developed to assist with risk prediction in people with bipolar disorder.

Linking these models to effective interventions such as safety planning could further reduce the mortality gap.

Nationwide study reveals the impact of bipolar disorder on mortality

The study utilized nationwide medical and social insurance registers to track the health outcomes of individuals with bipolar disorder.

Over approximately eight years of monitoring, 7 percent of people with bipolar disorder died compared to the general population.

This equates to a six-fold higher risk of death from external causes and a two-fold higher risk of death from physical causes.

Alcohol was the most common cause of death from physical causes, followed by cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Suicide and substance misuse are major contributors to premature mortality

Of the deaths from external causes, suicide accounted for 58 percent, with nearly half resulting from overdoses of prescribed mental health medications.

Targeting preventive interventions for substance abuse is crucial in reducing the mortality gap associated with bipolar disorder.

Suicide prevention remains a priority, and better awareness of the risk of overdose and other poisonings is warranted.

Balancing therapeutic response, potential long-term side effects of medications, and the risk of premature mortality is necessary, especially in younger individuals.


The study highlights the significant increase in the risk of premature death for individuals with severe bipolar disorder.

Efforts should focus on developing improved interventions to reduce mortality associated with external causes and alcohol abuse.

Personalized approaches to prediction and prevention are crucial in addressing the high number of deaths due to suicide.

Targeted interventions for substance abuse and suicide prevention are necessary to bridge the mortality gap.


Study Finds. (July 18, 2023). Bipolar disorder patients over 6 times more likely to die early.

Content Restricted To Members