Bipolar I Disorder Burden of Illness

Approximately 1/3 of individuals with bipolar disorder were under 15 years of age when symptoms of bipolar disorder first appeared1*

Bipolar disorder is a chronic, recurrent mental health disorder with significant morbidity.2 The illness can worsen if left undiagnosed and untreated, and episodes may become more frequent or more severe over time.3

Based on diagnostic interview data from National Comorbidity Survey Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A), an estimated 2.9% of adolescents (aged 13-18) in the US had bipolar disorder, and 2.6% had severe impairment (DSM-IV criteria were used to define impairment).4

*According to the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association Surveys of Individuals with Bipolar Disorder in 1992 and 2000

Bipolar disorder has been shown to be a complex illness5

  • Bipolar depression differs from MDD, namely with regard to presence of manic episodes and symptomatology6
  • According to one study, the rate of pediatric hospitalizations with a principal diagnosis of bipolar disorders increased from 3.3 to 5.7/10,000 children from 2000 to 2006.7
  • Another study, in patients ages 12-66, showed that a majority of suicide attempts (73%) occur during depressive episodes (16% during mixed episode, 11% during manic episode)8

Historically, many antidepressants and atypical antipsychotics have been studied for bipolar depression as monotherapy9,10

  • Few atypical antipsychotics are FDA-approved for the treatment of bipolar depression in children11


  1. Hirschfeld RM, Lewis L, Vornik LA. Perceptions and impact of bipolar disorder: how far have we really come. J Clin Psychiatry. 2003;64(2):161-174.
  2. Frye MA, Calabrese JR, Reed ML, Hirschfeld RM. Health care resource utilization in bipolar depression compared with unipolar depression: results of a United States population-based study. CNS Spectr. 2006;11(9):704-710. 
  3. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Accessed May 1, 2014. 
  4. National Institute of Mental Health website. Bipolar Disorder. Accessed February 19, 2020.
  5. Center for Quality Assessment and Improvement in Mental Health (CQAIMH). Accessed May 2, 2014. 
  6. American Psychiatric Association. Bipolar and Related Disorders. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 5th ed. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association; 2013:123-188. 
  7. Lasky T, Krieger A, Elixhauser A, Vitiello B. Children's hospitalizations with a mood disorder diagnosis in general hospitals in the United States 2000-2006. Child Adolesc Psychiatry Ment Health. 2011;7:5-27. 
  8. Tondo L, Baldessarini RJ, Hennen J, Floris G, Silvetti F, Tohen M. Lithium treatment and risk of suicidal behavior in bipolar disorder patients. J Clin Psych. 1998;59(8):405-414.
  9. Selle V, Schalkwijk S, Vázquez GH, Baldessarini RJ. Treatments for acute bipolar depression: meta-analyses of placebo-controlled, monotherapy trials of anticonvulsants, lithium and antipsychotics. Pharmacopsychiatry. 2014;47(2):43-52.
  10. Clinical Trials website. Accessed June 16, 2016. 
  11. website. Accessed January 14, 2020.