Primary care settings

What is prevalence?

Prevalence quantifies the proportion of individuals in a population who have a disorder during a specific time period, while incidence refers to the number of new cases that develop in a population during a specific time period. In disorders of short duration, incidence and prevalence rates may be similar, however with disorders of long duration, such as bipolar disorder, there can be variation between the two. Current, or ‘point’ prevalence is the proportion of individuals who have the disorder at a given point in time, ‘period’ prevalence measures the proportion of individuals who have the disorder during a specified period (e.g. 1 year), a ‘lifetime’ prevalence is the proportion of individuals in the population who have ever had the disorder.

What is the evidence on prevalence of bipolar disorder in primary care settings?

Primary care settings typically represent the first step for treatment-seeking individuals with mood symptoms. Moderate quality evidence suggests the overall prevalence of bipolar spectrum disorders in primary care settings is around 1.9%, with current prevalence around 3.7%, and 12 month prevalence around 0.7%. Rates were highest in North America, in recent publications, and in younger samples.

April 2019

Last updated at: 5:27 am, 9th April 2019
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Fact Sheet Technical Commentary

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