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The Increasing Frequency of Mania and Bipolar Disorder: Causes and Potential Negative Impacts

Yutzy, Sean H. MD*; Woofter, Chad R. MD†‡; Abbott, Christopher C. MD§; Melhem, Imad M. MD; Parish, Brooke S. MD§

Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease:
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e3182531f17
Review Article

Abstract: The frequency of mania has not changed during the last century even with the development of new diagnostic criteria sets. More specifically, from the mid-1970s to 2000, the rate of mania (variably labeled major affective disorder–bipolar disorder and bipolar I disorder) was consistently identified in US and international studies as ranging from 0.4% to 1.6%. By the late 1990s to the 2000s, the prevalence reported by some researchers for bipolar disorders (I and II and others) was in the 5% to 7% and higher ranges. The purpose of this paper was to review explanations for this change and the potentially negative impacts on the field.

Author Information

*Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO; †Napa State Hospital, Napa, CA; ‡Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, University of California Davis School of Medicine, Davis, CA; §University of New Mexico, Dept of Psychiatry, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM; and ∥Neurobehavioral Medicine Consultants, Steubenville, OH.

Send reprint requests to Christopher C. Abbott, MD, Department of Psychiatry, University of New Mexico, MSC09 5030, 1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131. E-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.