In a new study published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 27 studies involving 9,415 patients and found that bipolar patients wait six years on average from the time their symptoms start to show up before they get proper diagnosis.
A meta-analysis that assessed studies reporting estimates of the age of onset (AOO) and indicators of the age at initial management of BD. The pooled estimate for the interval between the onset of BD and its management was 5.8 years A longer interval was found in studies that defined the onset according to the first episode (compared to onset of symptoms or illness) and defined management as age at diagnosis (rather than first treatment or first hospitalization). Recent studies that used a systematic method to establish the chronology of illness, among studies with a smaller proportion of bipolar I patients, and among studies with an earlier mean age of onset reported longer intervals.
The researchers concluded that “There is currently little consistency in the way researchers report the AOO and initial management of BD. However, the large interval between onset and management of BD presents an opportunity for earlier intervention.”
Canadian Journal Of Psychiatry
July 26, 2016