In my last blog, I talked about the stigma of mental health conditions. Sometimes stigma about psychiatric conditions can keep people from seeking help and getting the treatment they need to get their lives back on track. This past week, the actor, Glenn Close, and her sister, Jessie Close, appeared on various television shows including Good Morning America and The View to raise awareness about mental health conditions. Jessie Close has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and is speaking out about the importance of getting treatment and fighting against stigma. You can find more information about their awareness campaign at www.bringchange2mind.org.
Bipolar disorder seems to be one of the most misunderstood psychiatric diagnoses, yet more and more people are diagnosed with it each year. Bipolar disorder has been estimated to afflict more than 5 million people in the U.S., which is about 1 out of every 45 adults. Symptoms of bipolar disorder are usually seen before the age of 25. However, the rate of diagnosis in children is also increasing. Some studies have shown that the number of children and adolescents treated for bipolar disorder has increased 40-fold from 1994 to 2003.
It’s unclear whether there is actually an increase in the prevalence of bipolar disorder or if clinicians are using the diagnosis more loosely than they have in the past. Either way, if you or someone you know has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder or if you suspect this diagnosis, it’s important to get help right away. Symptoms of bipolar disorder can worsen over time if they go untreated. Psychotherapy and psychiatric medication are very helpful in managing symptoms and bringing balance back into your life. In my next blog, I’ll talk more about the symptoms of bipolar disorder.