Bipolar disorder, which is also known as
manic-depressive illness and will be called by both
names throughout this publication--is a mental illness
involving episodes of serious mania and depression. The
person's mood usually swings from overly "high" and
irritable to sad and hopeless and then back again, with
periods of normal mood in between.
WHAT IS BIPOLAR DISORDER?
Bipolar disorder typically begins in adolescence or
early adulthood and continues throughout life. It is
often not recognized as an illness, and people who have
it may suffer needlessly for years or even decades.
Effective treatments are available that greatly
alleviate the suffering caused by bipolar disorder and
can usually prevent its devastating complications. These
include marital break-ups, job loss, alcohol and drug
abuse, and suicide.
Here are some facts about bipolar disorder.
Manic-Depressive Illness Has a Devastating Impact on
At least 2 million Americans suffer from
manic-depressive illness. For those afflicted with the
illness, it is extremely distressing and disruptive.
Like other serious illnesses,
bipolar disorder is also hard on spouses, family
members, friends, and employers.
Family members of people with bipolar disorder often
have to cope with serious behavioral problems (such as
wild spending sprees) and the lasting consequences of
Bipolar disorder tends to run in families and is
believed to be inherited in many cases. Despite vigorous
research efforts, a specific genetic defect associated
with the disease has not yet been detected.
D/ART: A National Educational Program
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has launched
the Depression/Awareness, Recognition, and Treatment
(D/ART) campaign to help people:
symptoms of depressive disorders, including bipolar
trains health care professionals to recognize the
signs of bipolar disorder and utilize the most
up-to-date treatment approaches
citizens' advocacy groups to extend the D/ART
business and industry to improve recognition,
treatment, and insurance coverage for depressive
| 2 |