World Bipolar Day observed to raise awareness and dispel stigma
Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that can cause a person to experience symptoms of depressive or manic episodes over an extended period of time.
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — Today is recognized as World Bipolar Day as an effort to raise awareness and dispel stigma surrounding the mood disorder.
According to Dr. Brian Wright, Resident Psychiatrist at Piedmont Macon, people affected by bipolar disorder can experience symptoms of depressive or manic episodes over an extended period of time.
“We commonly just associate it with people who are moody or impulsive, or make bad decisions in their life,” Dr. Wright explained, “and it’s used in a pejorative term, and that’s not true at all. This is a chemical problem with people’s moods who can’t control them.”
If left untreated, the disorder can negatively impact a person’s job or relationships, and is associated with higher risk of substance abuse or suicide. There are several treatment options available, however, to help people manage their symptoms.
“People who are treated do really, really well with this condition,” said Dr. Wright. “People should never fear treatment – there are wonderful doctors in this area who can help people find medications that will help them live whole and happy lives.”
Dr. Wright says symptoms can first appear between the ages of 18 and 20, and can be difficult to diagnose in adolescents due to hormonal changes. The National Institute of Mental Health reports an estimate of 4.4% of U.S. adults are affected by bipolar disorder in their lifetime.
World Bipolar Day coincides with the birthday of artist Vincent Van Gogh, who was posthumously diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and has been observed annually since 2014.