Bipolar disorder tends to come and go throughout people's lives. Most treatment tends to focus on treating acute episodes of the condition but it is just as important to prevent, or delay, relapses between acute episodes. Some people recover completely between acute episodes while others have 'residual' symptoms of the condition. A U.S. study of 223 people with bipolar disorder found that those with residual symptoms experienced relapses three times as quickly as those who were symptom-free between episodes. The researchers concluded that 'stable recovery in bipolar disorder is achieved only when asymptomatic status is achieved'.
Lewis, L. Judd ... [et al] - Residual symptom recovery from major affective episodes in bipolar disorders and rapid episode relapse/recurrence Archives of General Psychiatry April 2008, 65(4), 386-394