World Bipolar Day

 In Awareness Campaigns, Mental Health

World Bipolar Day (WBD) is observed each year on the 30th March. This was Vincent Van Gough’s birthday, who was diagnosed (after death) as probably having bipolar and famously cut off his ear. World Bipolar day was created by the Asian Network of Bipolar Disorder, The International Bipolar Foundation and the International Society for Bipolar Disorders.

What is the aim of World Bipolar Day?

World Bipolar Day aims to build awareness and battle against the stigma of the condition. Like with most mental disorders, there is a lack of knowledge about bipolar in the general population and it is important to educate people on the condition. World Bipolar Day aims to achieve this and improve the understanding of bipolar and improve sensitivity to the condition.

World Bipolar Day compliments nicely the recent #HeadsTogether campaign launched by the royals which looks to end the stigma around mental health.

What is Bipolar?

Bipolar or manic depression is a condition that can cause your mood to swing between two extremes. Sometimes a person will have episodes of mania or hypomania (less severe mania) where they are full of energy and overactive. But this can quickly change to severe lows and depression where they feel sad and have much less energy.

These episodes can last several weeks or be fleeting and some people can often not experience a balanced mood for quite some time. Symptoms of the depression episode include feeling sad, irritable, hopeless, and lethargic, emptiness, worthlessness, guilt, despair, lack of appetite, difficulty sleeping and suicidal thoughts.

This can change when they enter the manic stage which has symptoms including feeling happy, overjoyed, elated, energetic, taking very quickly, being easily distracted, being delusional, and hallucinating, making decisions that are out of character and feeling self-important.

These symptoms are total parallels and can be disconcerting for the person and their close friends and family at first. However, episodes can be helped with treatment that aims to give that person a more normal life. These treatments include taking mood stabilisers daily to prevent mania and depression, learning to recognise triggers of an episode, psychological therapy which can help with depression and lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, improving your diet and getting more sleep.

Facts on Bipolar

Bipolar UK offer the following stats on the condition in the UK –

  • Research suggests that 5% of the UK population is on the bipolar spectrum
  • On average it takes 10.5 years to receive a correct diagnosis for bipolar in the UK and before bipolar is diagnosed there is a misdiagnosis an average of 3.5 times
  • Bipolar increases the risk of suicide by 20 times.
  • The World Health Organisation identifies bipolar as one of the top causes of lost years of life and health in 15 to 44-year-olds.
  • Just 21% of people with a long-term mental health condition are in employment.
  • Compared to other health problems, treatment of bipolar is still badly affected by misunderstanding and stigma.
  • Bipolar affects every aspect of your life and your relationship. Family and friends can all be put under stress. This is why you need to get a correct diagnosis, accept treatment and start to learn how you can adapt your lifestyle to cope with the ups and downs.

 

References

  1. http://www.worldbipolarday.org/about-wbd.html
  2. http://www.anbd.org/
  3. http://ibpf.org/
  4. http://www.isbd.org/
  5. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Bipolar-disorder/Pages/Introduction.aspx
  6. https://www.bipolaruk.org/FAQs/bipolar-the-facts
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