The Correlation Between Bipolar I Disorder and Body Mass Index

Among mood disorders, modern psychiatry singles out a group of bipolar disorders which are characterized by a single or multiple occurrence of abnormally elevated mood (mania or hypomania) giving place to depressive (mixed) episodes. Bipolar I disorder is diagnosed on the basis of presence of one or more manic or mixed episode. There have been multiple studies as to the possible causes of bipolar I, with the most recent of them tracing a connection between obesity and cases of this type of mood disorder.

Calkin et al., (2009) have evinced specific interest in whether “body mass index is related to prognosis and outcome of bipolar I”. While examining 276 subjects, 186 of those liable to bipolar I disorder, the research group used the methods of structural equation analysis to model the relationship between BMI and psychiatric outcome. As a result of the study, it has been discovered that obesity prevailed in 39.1% of the sample; moreover, a higher body mass index appeared in patients with chronic course and longer duration of disease. The research data has allowed the scientists to discern the association between increased body mass index and the prognosis and outcome of bipolar I disease. However, in order to claim with certainty the validity of this association, still more study in this area should be carried out.

With the purpose of successful treatment of bipolar I disorder, factors hampering the cure should be considered, obesity being one of the most crucial obstacles to efficient therapy. By undergoing a course of prevention and treatment of obesity bipolar disorder patients acquire a higher chance of decreasing the morbidity and mortality related to physical illness and possibly improving the course of bipolar illness. Thus a complex of weight-control measures should be designed specially for this group of patients securing a better recovery rate for them.


Calkin, C., van de Velde, C., Růzicková, M., Slaney, C., Garnham, J., Hajek, T., et al. (2009). Can body mass index help predict outcome in patients with bipolar disorder? Bipolar Disorders, 11(6), 650-656.