All people are not created equal in the eyes of chronic illnesses. Some conditions impact women more than men, while others are more prevalent in certain races than others. Not surprisingly, this is the case with bipolar disorder. A new report, detailed in Archives of General Psychiatry, shows that rates of mood and anxiety disorders, including bipolar disorder, are still increasing in older populations, specifically in women.
In a survey conducted by the University of California, San Francisco and the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, researchers found exactly how mood, anxiety, and combined disorders impact people at various ages. All of the participants were age fifty-five or older, with five percent eighty-five years or older. Additionally, they came from different areas across the country. Overall, approximately five percent of participants reported having a mood disorder, including bipolar disorder, in the previous year. Anxiety disorders presented more often at a rate of twelve percent, while combined disorders came in at three percent. Moreover, women reported these conditions more than men. Women also had higher rates of anxiety orders and a combination of the illnesses.
Although on the whole, these conditions decline with age, from seven percent at age fifty-five to two percent at age eighty-five or older. Despite this change, the onset of these mental health problems later in life is very important. When people develop the conditions as they age, it is often more difficult to diagnose. Some individuals suffer from other illnesses that may mask the symptoms of bipolar disorder or may be thought to be the cause of some of the signs. What’s more is that as baby boomers begin to age a great deal of the population begins to age, and therefore the number of people suffering from bipolar and other disorders will continue to grow.
The study’s authors hope that this study will assist in community planning for this age cohort and further research into this psychiatric area. They believe that screening these individuals for these conditions from the outset will allow doctors to better treat them. Moreover, specific treatment options for older populations will also be developed if the results from this study are closely examined. Those who are older have many health issues to be concerned about and should be evaluated for illnesses, such a bipolar disorder, that may not have existed before, but is now showing up under the surface.
Technorati Claim Code 6KJ4QMR5RUFK