5 things you need to know for World Bipolar Day
World Bipolar Day is celebrated on 30th March each year to combat the social stigma that often goes hand in hand with bipolar disorders, and to bring international awareness.
Here are 5 things you may not know about Bipolar disorder
- World Bipolar Day is celebrated on 30th March because it is Vincent Van Gogh’s birthday.
The world renowned painter of “Starry Night”, according to some accounts, suffered from the symptoms of bipolar disorder.
- Bipolar isn’t just mood swings
The official NHS definition of bipolar states that, “People with bipolar disorder have periods or episodes of depression (feeling very low and lethargic) and mania (feeling very high and overactive). However these moods are not your average mood swings, with each extreme episode potentially lasting several weeks (or longer).
- There are three kinds of bipolar disorder
Bipolar I sees sufferers having at least one episode of mania lasting longer than a week, Bipolar II sufferers experience both episodes of severe depression and symptoms of hypomania and the third, Cyclothymia covers those who have experienced both hypomanic and depressive mood states over the course of two years or more. Mental health charity Mind explains the different types of bipolar disorder here.
- Up to half of bipolar patients will attempt suicide
KR Jamison, an American clinical psychologist and writer, states that 25-50% of bipolar patients will attempt suicide at least once. The US National Institute of Mental Health also states that as many as one in five patients will die as a result. These figures do not include those who have not been diagnosed.
- Social stigma still exists
Despite ongoing efforts by mental health charities and the NHS, stigma surrounding all mental health issues still exists. It is important that we do our best to fight against this stigma, and help those who are caught up in it feel comfortable enough to speak about their illness.
If you would like to know more about bipolar disorder, or the support available for sufferers please visit mind.org.uk.