Current Psychiatry Reports

, Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 493–499

Early Detection and Intervention in Bipolar Affective Disorder: Targeting the Development of the Disorder

Bipolar Disorders (David S. Janowsky, Section Editor)

DOI: 10.1007/s11920-011-0229-8

Cite this article as:
Howes, O.D. & Falkenberg, I. Curr Psychiatry Rep (2011) 13: 493. doi:10.1007/s11920-011-0229-8


The diagnosis of bipolar affective disorder (BD) is often delayed, and preceded by incorrect diagnoses and potentially harmful treatment, while the development of the disorder is associated with suicidal behavior and help seeking. Several clinical features have been linked to an increased risk of going on to develop BD, in particular attenuated symptoms of BD, personality traits such as cyclothymia, and general psychopathologic symptoms. Several of these show high specificity, indicating that it may be possible to target detection and intervention in individuals at high risk of BD and perhaps moderate the course of the illness and improve treatment outcome. This article summarizes recent evidence on the characteristics of the prodrome to BD and discusses the potential value and challenges of early detection and intervention in BD.


Bipolar affective disorder At risk High risk Prodrome Early intervention Early detection Mania Hypomania Depression Prevention Secondary disability Development 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychosis StudiesInstitute of Psychiatry, King’s College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and PsychotheraphyPhilipps-University MarburgMarburgGermany

Personalised recommendations