Guest Tuesday of "Without appointment", on Europe 1, the psychiatrist Charles Laidi gave some keys to better understand bipolar disorders, which affect between 1 and 2% of the population.

The specialist insisted on the importance of being diagnosed as soon as possible. 


They affect between 1 and 2% of the population.

Bipolar disorders, a mental illness that appears especially in young adults, can have serious consequences on the patient's life and require in-depth and long-term treatment.

And while properly treated bipolar disorder can completely stabilize, many patients are diagnosed very late, with symptoms that are unrecognized or sometimes confused with those of depression.

Guest Tuesday of

Sans rendez-vous

, Charles Laidi, psychiatrist at Henri Mondor University Hospitals, gives some keys to better understand this disease. 

What are bipolar disorders? 

It remains difficult to explain precisely the origin of bipolar disorder.

"There would probably be a change in the connectivity between the prefrontal cortex and the brain which is responsible for emotions," explains Charles Laidi.

"Bipolar disorder is an alternation between phases of depression and phases of mania and hypomania (slightly less strong manic episode)," he continues.

More concretely, "people will be slowed down, sometimes having dark thoughts, sadness in their mood, then, on the contrary, phases where they are more excited, with altered sleep, unusual ideas". 


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This disease, recalls the specialist, is not reserved for a single category of the population, and "affects almost as much men as women".

And if the fact of having a member of his family, in particular a relative in the first degree, himself suffering from bipolar disorder, increases the risk, "it is not for all that a genetic disease", assures Charles Laidi. 

Moreover, "aggravating factors present in the environment" can favor the appearance of these disorders, he adds, citing in particular "mistreatment, the consumption of certain substances such as cannabis". 

How to make the correct diagnosis? 

On Europe 1, Charles Laidi recalls the importance for these people with bipolar disorder to be diagnosed as soon as possible, "a real public health problem".

"We are talking about ten years on average of delay in the diagnosis of bipolar disorder", he indicates, and this delay will prove to be "very detrimental" for patients, who "have trouble s 'inserting into professional life' and who are also experiencing difficulties in their friendly or romantic relationships.

One of the keys is to recognize manic episodes.

If there are several types, in all cases, "there is an alteration of sleep", specifies the psychiatrist.

Another symptom, "patients will want to talk to everyone, have a lot of ideas jostling in their heads, will often be seduced with those around them inappropriately, may spend money recklessly ". 

Identifying the disease is crucial because people with bipolar disorder can lose up to 10 years of life expectancy.

Explanation: "people who suffer from it often have less time to take care of their physical health, have more comorbidities, and more often problems of metabolic syndrome, overweight or even obesity".

Finally, "they will go less to the doctor who could diagnose them with pathologies such as cancer".

What treatments? 

Bipolar disorder is "a disease that will generally last a lifetime", first reminds the guest from Europe 1. "It cannot be cured, but it stabilizes."

And, wishes to reassure Charles Laidi, "we have patients who manage to work, to have a family life, even with bipolar disorder".

To live well with bipolar disorder, you need three pillars: medication, psychotherapy, and a healthy lifestyle.

Regarding the treatments, we can in particular quote lithium, which "will make it possible to stabilize the mood to avoid episodes of depression and mania", but also antiepileptic treatments.

In some cases, "we can give antipsychotics".

In addition, light therapy, adds the doctor, can be an "interesting alternative for patients who have depression". 

The drugs are taken "every day and for a long time".

And if there are some side effects for lithium, such as "mild drowsiness or sometimes kidney problems," doctors may suggest alternatives. 

On the other hand, "psychotherapy is essential", explains Charles Laidi, and will allow the patient "to better understand his disease. Finally, a healthy lifestyle is important. The patient must therefore make sure to go to bed at times. regular, and be careful with your diet, because people with bipolar disorder “are more at risk of being overweight or obese.” While alcohol can continue to be consumed in moderation, cannabis is however "a product to avoid absolutely", warns the guest from Europe 1.