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Bipolar Disorder: Is It Ignored?

Responding to a mood disorders survey, almost four out of ten people polled could not think of any symptoms related to bipolar disorder or manic depression, as it is also known.Bipolar disorder seems to slip under the radar of public awareness. Respondents to a telephone survey about mood disorders rarely thought of it: Almost four out of five Americans did not name it as a disorder.

The survey, sponsored by the National Alliance of the Mentally Ill as part of the Mental Illness Awareness Week, found that women aged 35 to 54 and college-aged students were the most aware of the disease. Adults over 55 knew least about it. Almost four out of ten people polled could not think of any symptoms related to bipolar disorder or manic depression, as it is also known.

The survey respondents who could name some of the symptoms of the disorder had only a cursory sense of them. Some 38 percent mentioned mood swings and 15 percent knew that sufferers often experience bouts of depression.

Some 1004 adults around the country participated in the telephone survey.

Bipolar disorder, which usually appears in late adolescence, is marked by extreme shifts in mood, energy and ability to function. Bouts of euphoria or depression can last days or months. Common symptoms include irritability, lethargy and anxiety and changes in sleep patterns and appetite.

The disorder affects 2.3 million people, or 1.2 percent of the nation. Without treatment, half of those with the disorder develop problems with drug or alcohol abuse. About 20 percent commit suicide.

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APA Reference
Staff, H. (2003, October 9). Bipolar Disorder: Is It Ignored?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, September 29 from https://www.healthyplace.com/bipolar-disorder/articles/bipolar-disorder-is-it-ignored

Last Updated: April 7, 2017

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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