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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2015 May;1345:59-66. doi: 10.1111/nyas.12652. Epub 2015 Feb 5.

Bipolar disorders in the Arab world: a critical review.

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  • 1Department of Medical Education, Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Doha, Qatar.
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar.
  • 3Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
  • 4Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine and Medical Sciences, University of Balamand, Beirut, Lebanon.


Bipolar disorders are common psychiatric disorders that affect 1-5% of the population worldwide. Major advances in the epidemiology, pathophysiology, and treatment of the disorders have recently occurred. The majority of published reports, however, originate from the Western hemisphere, mostly Europe and the United States. There is a shortage of data from the Arab world on bipolar disorders. In an era of globalization and rapid communication, it is not clear to what extent research findings pertaining to one part of the world are by necessity applicable to other parts. Psychiatric disorders are known to be affected by the culture in which they occur, and knowledge of variations in illness presentation in different ethnic groups is also increasing. However, knowledge of variations affecting Arab populations remains quite limited. This paper provides a critical review of the literature on bipolar affective disorders in the Arab world, pointing to major gaps in knowledge and future opportunities to fill these gaps.


Arab world; Lebanon; Qatar; bipolar disorder; review

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