Bipolar Disorder in Adults


Though some moodiness and irritability are to be expected as individuals face the pains and reduced mobility which come with the growing older, once the thoughts, emotions and actions of a person become extreme, these may give a hint of bipolar disorder. This mood disorder is typically found in young adulthood, but it can also strike late in life, in elders and seniors.

Bipolar Disorder in Adults

How Common Bipolar Disorder Is in Adults

Though few inclusive studies are accessible, research done along with the VA (Veteran’s Administration) and some other associations yielded some clues about how common bipolar disorder is in seniors.   

  • In a big study of persons treated at the VA hospitals, twenty-five percent of patient with BMD (Bipolar Mood Disorder) were older than 60.
  • In another study done in the initial clinic setting, forty-one percent of people aged from 18-70 those who screened positive for this mood disorder signaled that they first noticed some symptoms in or after 45.

Studies show women and men are equally at risk of developing bipolar as adults. But a recent research says women are three times more likely to develop this illness than men in their late life.  That’s exactly why women must need extra care in their later life.

How Bipolar Disorder Is Diagnosed in Adults

Healthcare experts have to face big challenges when they try to identify bipolar disorder in adults. Lots of situations impacting individuals later in their life, like depression, stroke, dementia, or even other neurological conditions, share many symptoms of bipolar. Side effects of some meds can also mimic symptoms of late bipolar disorder. Several studies also show that symptoms of bipolar disorder may not be severe if it triggers late in life. As a result, doctors may not constantly be successful to diagnose this serious illness.   

Causes of Late Bipolar Disorder

The particular causes of bipolar disorder in adults are really unknown; however, there are some factors those are associated with the development of this class of disorders.  

Genetic: Some genetic causes contribute to late bipolar, and it is usually not considered to be very strong as it can be found in early stages.

Neurological Illness: Professionals have much more evidence that late bipolar is linked to dementia. Some neurological signs and symptoms are obvious in non-medicated patients, and other symptoms have been linked primarily to medication treatment. 

Cerebrovascular Disease: It is a group of conditions which block the blood circulation to the brain, producing no or limited blood flow to all affected areas of one’s brain and it may cause late bipolar disorder in men and women.  

White Matter Hyperintensities: It refers to small lesions discovered throughout the brain. And these lesions are found in the brain of an individual with late bipolar through the utilize of imaging studies. 

Posterior Cortical Atrophy: This represents reduction of the back part of one’s brain, and it has been considered to be one of the most critical causes of late bipolar. 

Effects of Late Bipolar Disorder

Effects of late bipolar vary from person to person. Some common effects are:

  • Malnutrition.
  • Increased inability to tolerate physical aches, pain, etc.
  • Lack of cognitive functioning, such as planning, decision-making, and problem-solving, etc.
  • Incapacitating effects on the normal ability to function in daily activities.
  • Much use of clinical health service or less use of behavioral health service.
  • Increased the risk of suicide.

Many people suffer from bipolar for years, and they are not accurately diagnosed and treated. Bipolar is surely a long-term disease like heart disease and diabetes, and it must be cautiously treated and managed throughout our life.