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Encephale. 2006 Jan-Feb;32(1 Pt 1):18-25.

[The costs of bipolar disorder].

[Article in French]

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  • 1Université Paris Descartes, Faculté de Médecine Cochin-Port-Royal et CH Sainte-Anne, Paris.



According to the estimates of the World Bank and the World Health Organization bipolar disorder is the sixth leading cause of handicap throughout the world. The burden of this disease is similar to the one of schizophrenia. But cost-of-illness studies are too seldom. Although preventive treatments of bipolar disorder are available for more than fifty years, their economic impact has rarely been studied.


This review shows that the yearly cost of bipolar disorder is between 10,000 and 16,000 euro (12,000 and 18,000 US dollars). Eighty percent are indirect costs, 15% are linked to hospitalization and 5% to drugs. Hospitalization costs are lower in Health Maintenance Organization or general population studies than in studies performed on populations receiving care from psychiatric institutions or with a low socio-economic status.


The use of mood stabilizers has a substantial impact on direct costs which are halved and consequently on indirect costs. But different surveys all agree on the dramatic under-use of mood stabilizers which may be adequately prescribed to only a quarter of bipolar patients.


Therefore, the optimization of mental health system resources should prompt incentives to better screen, diagnose, and treat patients with a bipolar disorder.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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