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Bipolar and psychotic disorders in elite athletes: A narrative review

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Alan Currie, Professor Hamish McAllister-WilliamsORCiD


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© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2019. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ. Bipolar and psychotic disorders are relatively common and likely to have a significant impact on quality of life and functioning which, in the context of elite sport, includes a potential negative impact on sporting performance. For this narrative review article, the literature on bipolar and psychotic disorders in elite athletes was comprehensively searched, and little empirical research was found. A diagnosis of bipolar or psychotic disorders may be challenging in elite athletes because of complicating factors related to the modifying role of exercise and potential precipitating impact of substance use. Medications used to treat bipolar and psychotic disorders may have side effects particularly problematic for elite athletes. Future research should be tailored to the specific characteristics and needs of elite athletes and to the sporting context in which the disorders may arise. Specifically, further research is needed on the prevalence and incidence of these conditions in elite athletes and the impact of both the disorders and their treatments on sporting performance.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Currie A, Gorczynski P, Rice SM, Purcell R, McAllister-Williams RH, Hitchcock ME, Hainline B, Reardon CL

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Journal of Sports Medicine

Year: 2019

Volume: 53

Issue: 12

Pages: 746-753

Print publication date: 31/05/2019

Online publication date: 16/05/2019

Acceptance date: 09/04/2019

ISSN (print): 0306-3674

ISSN (electronic): 1473-0480

Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2019-100685