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Bipolar Disorder (cont.)

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What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder, also called bipolar I disorder and formerly called manic depression, is a mental illness that is characterized by severe mood swings, at least one episode of mania and may include repeated episodes of depression. Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that afflicts more than 1% of adults in the United States, up to as many as 4 million people. Some additional facts and statistics about bipolar disorder include the following:

  • Bipolar disorder is the fifth leading cause of disability worldwide.
  • Bipolar disorder is the ninth leading cause of years lost to death or disability worldwide.
  • The number of individuals with bipolar disorder who commit suicide is 60 times higher than that of the general population.
  • There seems to be no increase in involvement with violent crime for people with bipolar disorder compared to the general population except for those bipolar disorder sufferers that also suffer from an alcohol or other substance use disorder.
  • People who have bipolar disorder are at a higher risk of also suffering from substance abuse such as alcoholism as well as other mental-health problems.
  • A number of medical problems tend to co-occur with bipolar disorder, including some pain and neurological and genetic disorders.
  • Males may develop bipolar disorder earlier in life compared to females.
  • Blacks are sometimes diagnosed more often with bipolar disorder compared to whites.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/22/2017


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