March 30 Is World Bipolar Day

March 30 Is World Bipolar Day

The stigma around mental illness is slowly ebbing, but it is by no means gone. Days like World Bipolar Day, held annually on March 30, offer excellent opportunities to spread awareness about this condition including symptoms, treatment, medications, and resources.    graphic logo with blue and purple colors fading and circular accents for World Bipolar Day

World Bipolar Day opens the door for people to share their stories and for others to learn how they can get help for themselves or for a loved one. According to the International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF), this awareness day is a initiative shared by the IBPF and in collaboration with the Asian Network of Bipolar Disorder (ANBD) and the International Society for Bipolar Disorders (ISBD).

Bipolar disorder is easily confused with other mental illness as it can present with mood symptoms that are so similar. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) says, “bipolar disorder is a mental illness that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, concentration, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.” But to find the right treatment, it helps to make an accurate diagnosis as soon as possible. Fortunately, tools like the IBPF’s Mood Disorder Questionnaire helps people identify the nuances between different conditions.

According to the ISBD, bipolar disorder is a brain disorder and isn’t rare. More than 60 million people worldwide (and 5.7 million American adults) are impacted by this condition. It is frequently diagnosed in late adolescence or early adulthood, and as more people become educated about bipolar disorders, the stigma around it lessens.

As the general public gains knowledge and understanding about bipolar, it helps dispel any misunderstandings about the disorder, what causes it, and what helps it. And as more people learn about bipolar and realize they are experiencing some symptoms, they will be able to get the help that will make a difference in their lives.

As bipolar disorders are talked about more freely, people who are affected by the condition are able to connect with others so they can build a community. If someone has bipolar symptoms and either doesn’t know others who have the same life experiences or is unaware of the extensive resources available, they can feel especially isolated. Isolation frequently worsens any kind of illness, so having a supportive community–whether online or in person–can make an enormous difference for someone living with bipolar disorder.

Nurses can use this day to help raise awareness about this disorder and to ensure that patients have access to information if they need it. Nurses can learn to recognize some of the signs and symptoms so they are able to identify it or flag the potential of it emerging.

People with bipolar disorder may think symptoms will go away and while the intensity of symptoms will fluctuate, they are generally something that will require lifelong treatment. Various options for treatment, including therapy, medication, and behavioral strategies, can help people manage symptoms and learn to recognize when they are worsening or improving. And finding the right treatment can prevent years of unnecessary suffering–a great reason to help spread awareness on World Bipolar Day.