Daily Archives: December 5, 2012

Study Finds Bipolar Disorder Prevalent in Panic Disorder Patients

This morning’s sweep of the internet turned up a new study by the University of Tokyo, Japan suggesting bipolar disorder is common among Japanese patients who were being treated for panic disorder.

Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder marked by repeated attacks of intense fear that something bad will happen. This is often accompanied by repeated panic attacks, generally peaking between 10-20 minutes at a time.

It seems like people have been drawing conclusions between bipolar disorder and anxiety disorders for a while now, and I find this study particularly interesting because of how interwoven anxiety is with the bipolar symptoms in my own life.

The study by the University of Tokyo, Japan (and colleagues) found that:

22.3% of 649 patients (434 women) with panic disorder met criteria for, or had a previous diagnosis of, bipolar I (BD I) or II (BD II) disorder.

That is nearly a quarter of the panic disorder patients studied, which is huge considering that they figured the prevalence of bipolar disorder in the general population was only estimated at about 0.2%.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, said 17.1% of total patients had bipolar type II, while 5.2% had bipolar type I.

The conclusion that such a high rate of bipolar disorder was found in panic disorder patients is important because the first line of treatment for anxiety disorders is usually antidepressants (which can quickly worsen bipolar symptoms). Knowing that those with panic disorder are more likely to have bipolar disorder than the general population can help doctors when considering treatment options for those with panic disorder across the board.

For more details on the study, you can find the whole article here.