What does co-morbidity mean with bipolar disorder?

Sheri Van Dijk

The term co-morbidity simply refers to having more than one illness at the same time. So if a person has bipolar disorder and also has an anxiety disorder, these illnesses are co-morbid. You may have read in the literature that bipolar disorder has a high rate of co-morbidity, which means that it often co-occurs with other mental illnesses.

Ruth White, MPH
Social Work

Morbidity in this context refers to an illness so that co-morbidity means that there is another mental health condition that is occurring at the same time as bipolar disorder. For example someone can have Attention Deficit Disorder at the same time that they have Bipolar Disorder so that these illnesses would be co-morbid. In the past the term used was 'dual diagnosis'.

Continue Learning about Bipolar Disorder

How to Support Someone With Bipolar Disorder
How to Support Someone With Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is often a lifelong struggle, and supporting someone who has it isn’t easy. The person who is ill with bipolar disorder is dealing wi...
Read More
What foods and beverages can trigger a bipolar episode?
John Preston, PsyDJohn Preston, PsyD
Sugar, caffeine (found in chocolate, coffee, and some teas, such as green and black teas), alcoh...
More Answers
Can mania lead to risky behavior with bipolar disorder?
Dr. Michael Roizen, MDDr. Michael Roizen, MD
Mania is associated with impulsive and risky behavior. People experiencing mania tend to try to do...
More Answers
Scott Stapp Shares His Diagnosis
Scott Stapp Shares His Diagnosis

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.