Bipolar Disorder is a mental illness that produces drastic changes in a person’s mood, energy levels, and behaviour. The disease causes intense emotional highs and terrible lows (depression).
According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), bipolar Disorder affects up to 1% of the population in South Africa, which is about 500,000 people.
People who have a parent or sibling living with bipolar Disorder are more likely to get the disease themselves, although it can also appear when there is no genetic link. Moreover, bipolar illness is frequently misdiagnosed, and many myths about the disease persist.
Here are four things to know about Bipolar Disorder.
- A person may also experience the same mood several times before experiencing the opposite mood. Mood swings can happen over weeks, months. The severity of the depressive and manic phases can differ from person to person, and even in the same person at different times.
- Bipolar Disorder can also affect children. However, diagnosis is complicated as many symptoms mimic emotions and other behaviours such as ADHD. Bipolar Disorder in children significantly impairs functioning in school and at home with the family.
- Bipolar Disorder frequently interferes with employment, education, family, and social life. Males and women are both impacted; however, men have more manic episodes while women have more depressive episodes. Famous figures from the past, such as Winston Churchill, Isaac Newton, Abraham Lincoln, Vincent Van Gogh, and others, all suffered from bipolar Disorder.
- It is not always recognized as an illness, and people who have it may suffer needlessly for years or even decades. Bipolar Disorder is treatable and is not a character flaw or a sign of personal weakness; very effective treatments are available.