What to Know About Life Expectancy with Bipolar Disorder | LifestyleDietBlog.com

The life expectancy of an individual with bipolar disorder is lower than that of an individual without the illness. Co-occurring medical disorders, chronic mental health issues, and lifestyle choices could all be important.

Bipolar disorders are mental health illnesses characterised by abrupt changes in energy, mood, and level of activity. Bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder, and cyclothymia are the three main forms of bipolar disorder.

Emotionally neutral or depressed states, manic episodes, and mood episodes are common to all forms of bipolar illness. Mania or hypomania are terms used to describe periods of elevated mood, and depressive episodes are times of low mood.

Like the majority of permanent mental illnesses, bipolar disorder can seriously affect day-to-day functioning. However, it might also have an impact on how long you live.

What’s the life expectancy of someone with bipolar disorder?

There is a lower life expectancy linked to bipolar disorder.

A 2022 assessment found that the average life expectancy for those with bipolar disorder is about 67 years, which is 13 years shorter than that of the general population.

Why does bipolar disorder reduce life expectancy?

The association between life expectancy and bipolar disorder is hypothesised to be influenced by numerous factors.

A 2023 study found that bipolar disorder is linked to higher-than-average mortality rates from physical and external causes, including diabetes, heart disease, and respiratory disorders, as well as suicide and accidents.

According to Tyler Jensen, a licenced clinical mental health counsellor from Iowa City, "bipolar disorder can potentially decrease life expectancy through a large combination of biological [changes], lifestyle [factors], co-occurring medical conditions, and elevated mental health challenges."

According to him, there is a biological connection between bipolar disease and changes including immunological dysregulation, changed stress hormone levels, and altered brain structure, all of which may have an indirect impact on long-term health.

Bipolar disorder may also be linked to faster biological ageing, which is another risk that may affect a shorter lifetime from natural causes, according to a 2022 study.

Any innately higher risk for co-occurring medical illnesses can be exacerbated by lifestyle decisions made by people with bipolar disorder.

According to Jensen, "chronic illnesses are made more likely by lifestyle factors common among individuals with bipolar disorder, such as increased rates of smoking, substance use, poor dietary habits, and a sedentary lifestyle."

The inherent mental health difficulties associated with having bipolar disease, such as ongoing stress, adverse drug reactions, and suicide thoughts, he continues, exacerbate everything.

According to a review published in 2023, the primary cause of particular early mortality for individuals with bipolar disorder was suicide.

According to Brent Metcalf, a licenced clinical social worker from Kingsport, Tennessee, the condition's extreme mood swings, impulsivity, and hopelessness are what lead to an increased risk of suicide.

Tips to improve life expectancy in bipolar disorder

While there are factors beyond your control that affect life expectancy, you may still take steps to lower your risk of dying young.

Treatment adherence

With expert care, bipolar disorder is a chronic illness that can get better. It may worsen if treatment is not received.

According to Jensen, "continuity with medication and therapy is essential." "Medications are crucial in regulating mood swings and averting potential relapses, while therapy provides helpful coping mechanisms for the disorder's emotional and psychological components."

Keeping on top of physical health

Regular visits to your primary care physician are equally as vital as regular mental health examinations since there is a connection between bipolar disorder and physical health issues.

According to Metcalf, "routine examinations with a primary care physician can identify and treat any underlying physical health conditions that may exacerbate bipolar disorder or raise mortality risk."

Improving lifestyle habits

Jensen notes that a person's lifestyle choices might have a significant impact on their ability to effectively manage bipolar disorder.

"This entails keeping up a healthy diet, exercising frequently, and getting enough sleep," he states. "Reducing negative stressors is largely aided by abstaining from dangerous substances like alcohol and recreational drugs.”

Enhancing one's lifestyle can lead to better physical and mental health, which could lengthen one's life.

For instance, quitting smoking offers instant health advantages linked to longevity. You can extend your life by nearly ten years if you give up smoking before the age of thirty.

Suicide prevention plan

Bipolar disorder frequently results in suicidal thoughts. According to a 2019 review, up to 60% of persons with bipolar disorder make suicide attempts at least once in their lifetime.

"Working with a mental health professional to develop a suicide prevention plan can offer a structure for crisis management and assistance," says Metcalf.

A written suicide prevention plan usually consists of the following:
  • Your unique red flags or triggers
  • unique coping mechanisms
  • contacts for emergency medical care
  • social support networks
  • a room in your house set aside as a "safe space"

Maintaining a support network

Social networks are very important when you have a chronic illness like bipolar disorder. They can support you in achieving your treatment and lifestyle objectives in addition to giving you a feeling of community and belonging.

Jensen states, "Having a strong support network of friends, family, and peer support groups can provide the individual dealing with bipolar[disorder] both emotional and practical support."

The takeaway

A complex interplay of biological, behavioural, and mental health factors is responsible for the decreased life expectancy associated with bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder patients often live 13 years shorter lives than people in the general population.

Even while you might not be able to lower every risk linked to a shorter life expectancy, you can still make a difference with treatment adherence, lifestyle modifications, and social support.

Contact the SAMHSA National Helpline at 800-662-4357 to find out more about bipolar disorder or to locate local assistance. Support is accessible around the clock.

Help is available 24/7 if you're having suicidal thoughts by calling 911 for local emergency services or 988 for the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

Post a Comment