Bipolar disorder is a condition in which individuals vacillate between periods of a very high or irritable mood and depression. The "mood swings" between mania and depression can be very rapid and long lasting.
Causes, Prevalence, and Risk Factors
- Children with a parent or sibling who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder (compared to those with no family history of the disease) are four to six times more likely to develop the illness.
- When one parent has bipolar disorder, the risk to each child is l5 to 30 percent. When both parents have bipolar disorder, the risk increases to 50 to 75 percent
- More than two-thirds of people with bipolar disorder have at least one close relative with the illness, indicating a likely hereditary component.
- A National Institute of Mental Health study found that one percent of adolescents aged 14 to 18 met the criteria for bipolar disorder.
- A study found that 20 percent of adolescents suffering from major depression developed bipolar disorder within five years of the onset of depression.
- The World Health Organization lists Bipolar disorder as the sixth leading cause of disability in the world.
- Life expectancy is decreased for those suffering from Bipolar disorder by 9.2 years. One in five sufferers contemplate suicide at one point in their lives.
- The 12-month prevalence: 5.7 million adult Americans, or about 2.6 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older, suffers from bipolar disorder.
- Lifetime prevalence: 3.2 percent of the U.S. adult population suffers from bipolar disorder
- Lifetime prevalence: Bipolar disorder affects men and women equally. An equal number of men and women develop bipolar illness and it is found in all ages, races, ethnic groups and social classes.
- The median age of onset for bipolar disorder is 25 years, although the illness can appear as early as childhood or as late as 50.
- An estimated 3.4 million children and adolescents with depression in the United States may actually be experiencing the early onset of bipolar disorder.
- Almost half of all sufferers experienced onset before age 25.
Getting Treatment for Bipolar Disorder
- Those diagnosed with Bipolar disorder can face up to ten years of coping with symptoms before receiving an accurate diagnosis.
- Lithium treatments yield success rates from highs of 70 to 85 percent to lows of 40 to 50 percent.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), when used in combination with bipolar medication, has been shown to reduce the depressive symptoms of sufferers by 7.3 percent. CBT also results in a 60 percent reduction in relapse rates.
- Individuals who are widowed, separated or divorced have a greater likelihood of developing bipolar I disorder than people who are married or living with a partner (This may reflect the negative impact that early onset bipolar disorder can have upon the capacity to maintain intimate relationships.)
- People with bipolar disorder type I have had at least one manic episode and periods of major depression.
- Approximately 48.8 percent of adults diagnosed with bipolar disorder are receiving treatment.