• bipolar disorder;
  • health care costs;
  • indirect costs;
  • quality of life

Objective:  To assess the societal costs and quality of life of patients suffering from bipolar disorder in the Netherlands.

Method:  Forty persons with a lifetime diagnosis of bipolar disorder (SCID/DSM-IV) and representative for the Dutch general population were interviewed to collect data on direct (use of medical resources) and indirect (productivity losses because of absence from work and reduced efficiency at work) costs of illness. Respondents’ quality of life was also assessed. Prevalence (5.2%) of bipolar disorder was used to estimate total costs.

Results:  Total costs of bipolar disorder were estimated at $US1.83 billion (total direct costs = $US454 million; total indirect costs = $US1.37 billion). Participants’ quality-of-life scores were lower than those of the general population.

Conclusion:  The societal costs form patients suffering of bipolar disorder in the Netherlands were high, especially the indirect costs because of absence from work. The quality of life of bipolar patients was lower than the general population.