How are relationships impacted by bipolar disorder?

Mental illness can have an intrusive effect on personal relationships, social interactions and on libido. People with a mental illness may have difficulty forming and maintaining relationships, which may be a direct consequence of the disorder. Medications may also impact on sexual function.

What is the evidence for relationships?

Moderate quality evidence suggests increased rate of risky of sexual behaviors in people with bipolar disorder, particularly during manic episodes compared to patients to other psychiatric disorders.

Reviews authors report that the literature suggests people with bipolar disorder are more similar to controls than to other psychiatric patients in establishing and maintaining couple relationships. Studies of couples with one bipolar partner found decreased levels of sexual satisfaction associated with the diagnosis, varying levels of sexual interest across polarities, increased incidence of sexual dysfunction during depressive episodes, and disparate levels of satisfaction in general between patients and their partners.

November 2021

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Last updated at: 1:46 pm, 1st November 2021
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