In the past 2 decades, the burden of care for psychiatric complaints in primary care—including bipolar depression—has increased considerably. The prevalence of bipolar disorder (BPD) in primary care has been recently estimated to range up to 4.3%, and in studies with broader definitions of the disorder or in populations with higher-than-usual psychiatric disorders, the prevalence has been reported to be up to 11.4%. Even though BPD is seen commonly in primary care, there are still profound disparities in the delivery of care, including underdiagnosis, misdiagnosis, and inappropriate treatments. There is abundant evidence that BPD can be successfully managed in the primary care setting when adequate physician education, collaborative care teams, and patient education are employed. Efficacious and well-tolerated pharmacologic treatments for BPD are available, and evidence-based pharmacotherapy can be optimally managed by the primary care provider. In this supplement, experts in BPD discuss the recognition and management of bipolar depression and associated comorbidities in the primary care setting.
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