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Bipolar Disorder Fast Facts
Bipolar disorder affects an estimated 2.8% of adults in the United States. Men and women are affected at very similar rates. Bipolar disorder was once called manic depression, and it is characterized by extreme shifts in mood.
Bipolar disorder is more common among people who have a close relative, such as a parent or sibling, who also has the disorder.
Bipolar disorder is most commonly diagnosed in adults and teenagers, but children have been increasingly diagnosed with the disorder in recent years. Diagnosis of the disorder in children remains a controversial topic in the medical community.
Women are more likely than men to experience rapid cycling between manic and depressive states, and women tend to experience more depressive states than men.
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Lack of sleep, excessive use of alcohol or drugs, and stress have been identified as common triggers of bipolar symptoms.
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The consequences of manic and depressive episodes often affect not only the bipolar sufferer but their family members, friends, and colleagues, as well. Because of this, it is crucial that those close to the sufferer be educated in the symptoms and effects of the disorder so that they are better able to recognize the onset of episodes, to help their loved one deal with the effects of the episode while it is in progress, and to cope with stresses that the disorder can place on relationships.
It can be helpful for family members to participate in family counseling or therapy sessions so that they can learn how to provide support to the patient.