Can bipolar disorder really increase risk for Parkinson’s disease?

Can bipolar disorder really increase risk for Parkinson’s disease?

June 20, 2019

Can bipolar disorder really increase risk for Parkinson’s disease?

Mental Health

Bipolar disorder is a severe and incapacitating mental disorder. People suffering from bipolar disorder experience sudden mood swings, where at any given time, a period of extreme happiness or elevated mood is followed by severe depression and low feelings known as the “depressive period.” These periods of highs and lows may last for days or weeks, depending on the severity of the disorder. 

A recent study found that people with bipolar disorder have a greater risk of developing Parkinson’s disease as wellFurthermore, the higher the severity of severe the bipolar, the greater the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. The study was conducted by a group of researchers from Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan, led by Dr. Mu-Hong Chen, and was published in the journal Neurology. 

Parkinson’s Disease is a central nervous system (CNS) disorder that affects movement, often causing tremors, slower movement, difficulties in swallowing and balancing, loss of flexibility, and speech impairment. 

Patients with bipolar are seven times more likely to develop Parkinson’s 

The study analyzed the risk of Parkinson’s in 56,340 patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder between 2001 and 2009. These patient records were compared with the health records of 225,360 patients with no history of either Parkinson’s or bipolar disorder. 

The patients were closely followed until the end of 2011. Adjustments were made to the findings in order to control for several factors like age, sex, medical history, injuries to the brain, and history of diseases which have the potential to aggravate the risk of developing Parkinson’s. 

After detailed analysis, it was found that 0.7 percent people with bipolar disorder developed Parkinson’s during the study period compared to 0.1 percent of the control group who developed Parkinson’sPatients diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the start of the study were at a seven times higher risk of developing Parkinson’s as compared to those who did not have bipolar disorder. 

Age and severity of bipolar also affected incidences of Parkinson’s 

After the adjustments, the scientists also observed the following 

  • Based on age, it was observed that people diagnosed with bipolar disorder developed Parkinson’s at a younger age averaging at 64 years compared to those who did not have bipolar averaging at 73 years. 
  • Based on severity of bipolar disorder, people who had undergone medication at an early age had a greater risk of developing Parkinson’s at a later stage in life. People hospitalized twice a year were four times more likely to develop Parkinson’s than those hospitalized once a year, and those hospitalized more than two times a year were at six times greater risk of developing Parkinson’s. 

Further investigations needed 

Though the study pointed out some important findings, experts believe that the study had certain limitations. They said that the researchers included only participants who sought medical help for bipolar disorder and that there were several people who never sought help due to the stigma associated with mental health illnesses. 

The health records of the patients also did not contain information about the family’s history regarding Parkinson’s, nor did the records have any information regarding other factors such as environmental. 

Speaking on the limitations, Dr. Chen said that additional studies were needed to determine if bipolar disorder and Parkinson’s have some common underlying process leading to the association. He added that there could be genetic alterations which caused problems with transmission of messages between brain cells. According to Dr. Chen, identifying the association between the Parkinson’s and bipolar could open endless possibilities to develop treatments for both conditions. 

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH)the risk of developing Parkinson’s is increasing due to the increased longevity among humans. Every year around 50,000 people are diagnosed with Parkinson’s and the current treatment includes taking drugs like levodopa, to slow down the degeneration of the brain. 

Treatment for bipolar disorder 

Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition and unfortunately, there is no cure for it right now. However, it can be effectively managed at credible residential bipolar disorder treatment centers with the use of therapy, medications, and a combination of both, depending on the severity and time duration of the disorder. 

Treatment for mental health disorders are available at various reputed and licensed treatment centers across the country. If you or a loved one is battling bipolar disorder or any other mental health disorder, get in touch with the Invictus Health Group. We can connect you with state-ofthe-art bipolar treatment centers whom offer the latest treatment options. Call our 24/7 helpline 866-548-0190 and speak to a member of our admissions team for more information. You can also chat online to a representative for further assistance. 

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