Bipolar Disorders Network

Mission statement/aims

Bipolar disorders (BD) are severe, recurrent affective disorders that are among the leading causes of disability in working age adults. Despite their high lifetime prevalence of 4-5%, BD are often misdiagnosed leading to inappropriate or delayed treatments that have devastating consequences. Delay in the diagnosis based only on clinical features, uncertainties in the definition of episodes and on the treatment strategy best adapted to each patient lead to devastating socio-economic, professional and family consequences that be reverted by optimized diagnostic and treatment procedures. Research on bipolar disorder is hampered by a major fragmentation both within and between the EU countries. This condition represents an unmet need regarding its mechanism, diagnostic and treatment, and deserves an urgent research effort. Structuring and harmonising the research capacity in EU members states through the development of experts centres, organised into national networks, and connected at the EU level, will therefore substantially contribute to foster the research on bipolar disorders in the EU. This is the major objective of the ECNP-ENBREC consortium. The consortium currently covers networks of BP expert centres reaching the critical mass in Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, UK, France, Denmark and The Netherlands (representing more than 300 Millions EU citizens), and plans to extend to other EU member states. Knowledge gained through this consortium will improve earlier recognition of BD and intervention strategies of mood episodes, and eventually reduce the burden that BD imposes on individuals, caregivers and society throughout Europe.