World Bipolar Day is an initiative of the International Bipolar Foundation, the Asian Network of Bipolar Disorder, and the International Society for Bipolar Disorders. World Bipolar Day is observed every year on March 30th, the birthday of Vincent Van Gogh, who was posthumously diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The purpose of World Bipolar Day is to bring more awareness to bipolar disorder and reduce the social stigma attached to the disorder by educating the public about the condition and promoting sensitivity toward people who suffer from bipolar disorder. About 5.7 million Americans suffer from bipolar disorder and it is thought to affect between two and five percent of the world’s population. And it affects men and women equally. Bipolar disorder is characterized by episodes of depression and episodes of mania. The depressive episodes are characterized by sadness, sleep disturbance, irritability, slow movements, fatigue, loss of interest in things you used to enjoy, poor concentration, physical aches, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide or death. These depressive episodes typically last weeks or months and are indistinguishable from unipolar major depression. Manic episodes, on the other hand, are characterized by abundant energy, little need for sleep, starting many new projects, restlessness, anxiety, delusions of grandeur, paranoia, extreme optimism, and impulsive or reckless behavior. There is quite a bit of variability in manic episodes. Sometimes they just feel like an especially good mood, but sometimes they are so intense they require hospitalization. Bipolar 1 is characterized by these more intense manic episodes while bipolar 2 is characterized by less intense, hypomanic episodes. Both bipolar 1 and 2 have similarly severe depressive episodes. One reason bipolar awareness is so important is that bipolar disorder is one of the most frequently misdiagnosed mental health issues. About 70 percent of people who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder were originally diagnosed with major depression. This is especially common in people who have bipolar 2 and don’t experience very intense manic episodes. Women are more likely than men to be misdiagnosed, since women typically have milder manic episodes and women are about twice as likely as men to suffer from other forms of depression. Getting the correct diagnosis for bipolar disorder is extremely important. Bipolar disorder can be effectively treated with medication and psychotherapy, but it is not treated in quite the same way as major depression. People with bipolar disorder typically require a mood stabilizing drug as part of their treatment. If they only receive an SSRI antidepressant, as they would for major depression, they are more prone to having a manic episode. It takes an average of 10 years for an initial misdiagnosis to be corrected. Typically, a doctor will not know about manic episodes unless informed by the patient. This is why greater awareness of and education about bipolar disorder is so crucial.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction or bipolar disorder, we can help. Recovery Ways is a premier drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility located in Salt Lake City, Utah. We have the resources to effectively treat a dual diagnosis. Our mission is to provide the most cost-effective, accessible substance abuse treatment to as many people as possible. Request information online or call us today at 1-888-986-7848.