Bipolar statistics are revealing: this disorder is very common in today’s fast paced, competitive world.About 1.2% of the general population or 2.3 million adult Americans have it. Bipolar disorder has two alternating mood phases or may have a normal mood in between. Mania is the phase of overly elevated mood, rapid speech patterns, and lack of concentration, irritability and sleeplessness. This may be followed by the depressive phase which involves the individual having low feelings of self worth, guilt, suicidal tendencies, lack of confidence, listlessness, and lack of pleasure and so on. Approximately one in 83 people may have the illness.

According to bipolar statistics, while the onset of the disorder is largely during young adulthood, it can also occur as early as teenage or even childhood. The occurrence of the disorder post 50 years of age could be due to other reasons like substance abuse. Lifetime prevalence of bipolar disorder is about 0.4% to 1.3%. People may suffer for a long period before an actual diagnosis is made. Men and women are equally susceptible to the disorder. People of varying social classes may also have the disorder. However, recent studies have indicated a strong correlation between bipolar disorder and high intelligence.

Although there is plenty of data in terms of bipolar statistics on the incidence of the illness, there is no clear picture about its cause.Causes of the disorder may be genetic, biological or environmental. There is a strong indication from twin studies that if one twin has the disorder, the other twin is at a higher risk of developing the disorder than he other siblings. While the exact reason remains unknown, scientists continue to research and investigate.

Bipolar disorder can be difficult to treat as some people shy away from treatment fearing the stigma of being labeled ‘mentally ill’ or fearing side effects of medication. Individuals could also be enjoying the initial milder phases of mania which leave them on a ‘high’ or an elevated mood state. Bipolar disorder rarely disappears on its own and can be managed with a proper combination of treatment, support, family therapy and lifestyle changes. While relapse is seen, it can be controlled by having regular follow up sessions and avoiding too much stress. Also, educating co-workers and family while coping with the disorder will also enable the patient to have a normal life with lesser demands placed on them.

Remember, the illness is not about whom you are or a reflection of your personality! It is a distortion of your true self and many others including famous people who had the disorder like Picasso, Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso. They have all gone to lead normal lives and even contributed significantly to the progress of mankind. With the right attitude and determination, this disorder can be beaten and one can live a normal life and happily contribute to positive bipolar statistics!