What are the complications of bipolar disorder?

What are the complications of bipolar disorder?

If bipolar disorder is left untreated, it can lead to more severe issues that can impact the sufferer’s life, these include:

  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Damage to relationships
  • Poor performance at school or work
  • Financial or legal issues

Further complications tend to appear when bipolar disorder develops with other illnesses:

Some of the symptoms of bipolar disorder are very similar to those of other illnesses. This can make it difficult for a doctor to make an accurate diagnosis. It is common for some people to have bipolar disorder as well as another illness at the same time. These illnesses include:

  • Substance abuse
  • Anxiety
  • Eating disorders
  • Depression

Those with bipolar disorder, are at a higher risk of developing the following:

  • Migraines
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Other physical illnesses

Related conditions

Other related conditions may include the following:

ADHD and Anxiety

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, known as ADHD and anxiety disorders are commonly diagnosed in those with bipolar disorder. This is due to the fact that sufferers may experience difficulty in concentrating which is linked to ADHD during a bipolar episode, or experience anxiety.


If someone experiences episodes of depression or mania that are severe, these episodes may also include delusions or hallucinations. This is known as psychosis, or rather, psychotic symptoms. These tend to match the affected person’s extreme mood. Examples are as follows:

  • If psychotic symptoms are experienced during a depressive episode, one may believe that they are ruined, have no hope in life and are penniless. They may even think that they have committed a felony or crime when in reality they’ve done nothing wrong.
  • If psychotic symptoms are experienced during a manic episode (one with extreme happiness), the affected person may believe that they are rich, have special powers or some other kind of elaborate belief.

Because of this those who have bipolar disorder and experienced psychosis, may be misdiagnosed with schizophrenia.

Substance abuse

Those with bipolar disorder may misuse drugs or alcohol, have issues with relationships, and even perform badly at work or school. The sufferer may not be able to recognise these issues as signs of a mental illness, being bipolar disorder.

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