Adult Bipolar Disorder Statistics

Marcia Purse Health Guide
  • The number of adults with bipolar disorder is estimated to be anywhere from 2.6% to 3.9% of adults in the United States. Given that there are many who are not diagnosed, the proportion is certainly higher.


    The average age when bipolar disorder appears is 25, but all ages from 18-59 are common, and it's even possible for the first symptoms to occur at age 60 or older.


    Fifty to 55% of patients are female, which is a statistical difference too close to call, and I found a report that said diagnosed patients are 95% Caucasian - which, if correct, can only point to a severe under-diagnosis among the African-American population. I couldn't find any statistics on the Hispanic population.

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    An Australian study found that 69% of people with bipolar are misdiagnosed 3.5 times, and that it takes, on average, 10.2 years and 4 doctors to get a correct diagnosis. I found similar reports on the US population.


    Three out of 10 people with bipolar disorder attempt suicide at least once, and 20% of all bipolar patients succeed. Treatment dramatically decreases the risk of suicide.


    The life expectancy of persons with bipolar is estimated to be 9 years less than the general population. However, the frequency of suicide undoubtedly skews that average.


    Rapid cycling, depressive episodes and mixed episodes are more common in women than in men.

Published On: July 07, 2011