Forty-seven bipolar manic-depressive patients observed to be manic while hospitalized at the NIMH were interviewed an average of 3.2 years after their discharge and 14.7 years after the onset of their illnesses. A close relative was interviewed separately in 30 cases.
The patients have had an average of over five episodes of illness. Fifty-seven per cent have been well since hospitalization; 10 per cent have had further episodes requiring treatment but have functioned well in the intervening periods. One-third remain functionally impaired with moderate to severe affective symptoms interfering with work, social and family life.