This Wednesday, March 30, may be an ordinary day for you, but for many it’s a time to speak publicly about something they never thought they would: bipolar disorder. March 30 is commemorated each year as World Bipolar Day, designated for the birthday of artist Vincent Van Gogh, who has been posthumously diagnosed as suffering from bipolar disorder. World Bipolar Day is meant to raise awareness and erase the stigma of bipolar disorder for the 450 million people around the world who suffer from it.
It’s estimated that 5.5 million Americans live with bipolar disorder, which the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) describes as "a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out daily tasks.” The onset of bipolar disorder often occurs in the late teen or early adult years, and half of all cases start before age 25. While bipolar disorder is a long-term illness, with proper treatment those suffering can lead full lives.
Bipolar disorder has no single cause, but rather multiple contributing factors — genetic, biological, and environmental. Symptoms of bipolar disorder are extreme swings in mood and behavior — from a manic state to severely depressive, for instance. Despite treatment, these moods may reappear at times, although those with bipolar disorder may be free of symptoms between episodes.
Risk factors for bipolar disorder include cyclothymia (a mix of hypomania and depression that lasts at least two years); any other psychological disorder; a family history of bipolar or other psychological disorders; alcohol and substance abuse; medication interactions; major life changes; or severe stress.
At Green Door Behavioral Health, 15% of our clients have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. We provide a full range of treatment options, from medication to psychotherapy, in conjunction with treatment for other illnesses they may be suffering. Our mission is to ensure comprehensive treatment and support services for our clients, who can easily be deterred from achieving their potential without the intensive case management Green Door provides.
The theme of this year’s World Bipolar Day is “More Than a Diagnosis.” At Green Door Behavioral Health, that’s the approach we take to every one of our clients.
“In addition to clicking on the resource links below, consider checking out “Resilience” by Jessie Close, Kay Redfield Jamison’s classic “An Unquiet Mind” or “Touched By Fire”, recently made into a critically acclaimed movie starring Katie Holmes, or “Fast Girl” by Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton.