Bipolar Disorder, now the number six cause of disability for individuals between the ages of 14 and 44, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is as prevalent as diabetes.

Unfortunately, despite the pervasiveness of bipolar disorder, this mental illness still goes unrecognized, under diagnosed and therefore many times inadequately treated. While official estimates at the frequency of bipolar disorder in the world population, are only at one to two percent, the unofficial opinion of many in the medical establishment is that a more accurate estimate is closer to 10 percent.

In the United States alone, it's estimated that the costs of bipolar disorder are more than $14 billion in lost workplace productivity alone! The toll bipolar disorder takes on a person over his lifetime is truly unbelievable. According to Dr. Allan Young, a specialist in bipolar disorder from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, x a person affected with this health condition eventually experiences impaired cognitive functioning.

Bipolar disorder, though, according to Dr. Young, not only affects a person's memory, but also several other areas in subtle ways. Collectively, he describes these changes brought on by bipolar disorder as 'impaired executive functioning.'

Also affected due to this mental illness are such areas of the area of the brain that control the ability to plan, organize and prioritize tasks, as well as the ability to concentrate one's attention where it is needed. Dr. Young continued that these are traits the average person uses continually and usually takes for granted. However, the loss of these abilities can be devastating to those who suffer with bipolar disorder.

In fact, because of this, Dr. Young cites that employment for those with bipolar disorder is reduced by some 14 percent. 'This type of dysfunction,' he explains, 'can make it impossible [for a person with bipolar disorder] to hold down a job or to be considered for a promotion.'

Moreover, these cognitive problems can be heightened by some drug treatments for bipolar disorder. This then can escalate into eventual social isolation, the doctor explained.

An eventual breakdown of personal and professional relationships is not uncommon in those suffering with bipolar disorder. These individuals are nearly twice as likely to get divorced as those who do not experience symptoms of bipolar disorder. But this mental health problem has also been known to cause rifts among children and parents as well as siblings. Estrangement and isolations, according to Dr. Young, 'are common tragic consequences of poorly controlled bipolar disorder.'