World Bipolar Day is celebrated every year on March 30th. According to The International Society for Bipolar Disorders (ISBD), bipolar disorder affects more than 60 million individuals world-wide. And the purpose of designating a special day is to increase world-wide awareness, support education, encourage open discussion, and increase sensitivity about bipolar disorder. Even though the prevalence of bipolar is quite high, it is still often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed. Some may even use the term bipolar to describe a moody person, however, this phrase significantly detracts from the severity of the disorder.
Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness that can cause unpredictable and often extreme mood swings that include emotional highs and lows. More than just being ‘moody’, bipolar disorder symptoms can negatively affect a person’s daily functioning. The symptoms of bipolar may differ from one person to the next as well as vary within the same person. Bipolar disorder is often thought of as having periods of depression and periods of mania. However, there are many more less obvious symptoms including sleep disturbance, uncharacteristic behavior, changes in activity level, talking fast, and becoming easily distracted. This is part of what makes bipolar disorder so hard to diagnose, these feelings and behaviors are experienced by most people from time to time.
Bipolar can present at any time is a person’s life, but the average age of onset is 25. The cause of bipolar is not known at this time, however, research points to a variety of factors. There are genetic links to bipolar disorder, as well as environmental factors that may trigger bipolar disorder in a susceptible person. Environmental factors can include
- Physical and emotional abuse and neglect
- A traumatic event or significant loss
- Heavy alcohol or drug use
- Extreme or prolonged stress
- Seasonal change
- Concussion or another traumatic brain injury
Treatment for Bipolar has improved over the years and starts with a thorough evaluation by a mental health professional. Because the symptoms vary from person to person, treatment should be tailored to meet each individual’s needs. At Rose Hill Center we offer a holistic approach which includes
- Education about bipolar and how to manage symptoms
- Psychotherapy to enhance coping skills and repair relationships
- Group therapy to build a strong support system
- Medication education and management
- Lifestyle management skill building
As World Bipolar Day approaches, we encourage you to become familiar with the signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder. And, if you are interested in learning more or are looking for a treatment provider, below are links to resources that can help.