J Korean Geriatr Psychiatry.  2006 Dec;10(2):90-97.

Epidemiologic Characteristics and Clinical Features of the Elderly Patients with Bipolar Disorders Admitted to a University Hospital

  • 1Department of Neuropsychiatry, School of Medicine, Soonchunhyang University, Korea. hanyjung@schbc.ac.kr


As the elderly population is continuing to increase, psychiatric diseases of the elderly are becoming an important social issue. This study looks into the demographical and clinical features of the elderly patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder in a University hospital.
The study subjects include patients admissioned in the closed wards of Soonchunhyang Seoul hospital and Cheonan hospital from March, 2000 to February, 2005 who met the DSM-IV-TR criteria for bipolar disorder at the time of discharge. A total of 146 patients (76 men, 70 women) medical records were studied retrospectively. Subjects older than the age of 50 at time of admission were grouped as the old age group, whereas those who were younger than 50 as the young age group. Also among the old age group, those who had the first onset of episode under the age of 50 were grouped as the early onset group, whereas those who had the first onset after the age 50 were grouped as the late onset group.
The number of bipolar disorder patients in the young age group and old age group were 73 and 73 respectively. The number of early onset group and late onset group were 46 and 23 respectively. The old age group had a relatively higher incidence of bipolar II disorder than the young age group. Also in the old age group there was a higher incidence of hypomanic or depressive episode rather than manic episode compared to the young age group. And in the old age group psychotic symptoms were less common and the mean admission length shorter than the young age group. Additionally in the old age group treatment with Lithium monotherapy or with no mood stabilizers at all were relatively common. Among the old age group, late onset group had a higher rate of bipolar II disorder than the early onset group.
This study shows differences in the demographical and clinical features among different age groups. But additional research would be required to determine whether the bipolar disorders in the elderly or late onset group are actually a different type of disorder from those of the young.


Bipolar disorder; The elderly; Age of onset; Clinical feature
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