Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that causes someone to experience sharp shifts in mood, energy, and levels of activity. Sometimes it makes it impossible for someone to even completed their daily tasks. The symptoms of this disorder are severe and is considered a medical emergency. Everyone experiences some good days and bad days. With bipolar disorder, these mood swings are magnified by 1000x or more.
Facts About Bipolar Disorder Suicides
1. Bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million adult Americans, which is about 2.6% of the general population.
2. The average age for when bipolar disorder begins: 25. It can begin as early as childhood or as late as someone in their 50’s.
3. Men and women suffer from bipolar disorder in equal numbers.
4. Bipolar disorder is found in all ages, races, ethnic groups and social classes.
5. More than 67% of people with bipolar disorder have at least one close family member that has also been diagnosed with this mental illness or a similar unipolar major depression.
6. Women are 3x more likely to experience rapid cycling with their bipolar disorder when compared to men.
7. Women with bipolar disorder may have more depressive episodes and more mixed episodes than do men with the illness.
8. Bipolar disorder is the 6th leading cause of disability in the world today.
9. The diagnosis of bipolar disorder will result in a 9.2 year decrease in that person’s expected life span.
10. 80%. That’s the percentage of people with bipolar disorder who will contemplate suicide at least once in their lives. In the general population, only 1 in 12 people will contemplate a suicide attempt.
11. When both parents have bipolar disorder, their child may have up to a 75% chance of having this mental illness as well.
12. 20% of adolescents with major depression develop bipolar disorder within 5 years of the onset of their depression.
13. Out of the 3.4 million children under the age of 18 that are diagnosed with depression in the US, up to 1.1 million of them may actually be suffering from the first stages of early onset bipolar disorder.
14. Lithium response rates to bipolar disorder have decreased by 50% over the last decade to the point where less than half of people in the acute phase of treatment response successfully.
15. People with bipolar disorder face up to ten years of coping with symptoms before getting an accurate diagnosis.
16. Men who have bipolar disorder are more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia than be accurately diagnosed.
17. The percentage of people who have bipolar disorder and are satisfied with their treatment plan: 90%.
18. Up to 50% of people with bipolar disorder with attempt suicide at least once if attempts that occur before a diagnosis are included with the statistics.
19. 51%. That’s the percentage of people with bipolar disorder that are believed to be receiving no treatment for their condition over the course of any year.
20. Up to 17% of people with bipolar disorder will take their lives as a result of their illness, making it the #1 cause of premature death in people with this disorder.
21. The average person with bipolar disorder with have 4 episodes of depression or mania in the first decade of their illness.
22. Men are more likely to have manic episodes and women are more likely to have depressive episodes.
23. The average number of doctors it takes for someone to finally receive a diagnosis of bipolar disorder: 4.
24. 50% of those who receive treatment for their bipolar disorder will experience lingering symptoms or a full-blown relapse.
25. Women attempt suicide about 3 times more often than men, although men are 4 times as likely to complete suicide.
26. 60% of suicides involve the use of a firearm when they are successfully completed. In all suicide attempts, 55% of individuals choose a firearm.
27. People with bipolar disorder are 2x more likely to attempt suicide than someone with a unipolar disorder.
28. In a review of deaths of individuals with bipolar disorder from 1936-1988, 19% of 9,389 deaths were found to be because of suicide.
29. Anxiety disorders double the risk of a suicide attempt and people with bipolar disorder are known to have higher anxiety disorder burdens than the general population.
30. Suicide rates in the United States in 2013 rose to equal the highs that were experienced in 1986.
31. In 2013, the highest suicide rate (19.1 per 100k) was among people 45 to 64 years old.
32. The second highest rate (18.6 per 100k) occurred in those 85 years and older.
33. People of Caucasian descent are 3x more likely to contemplate suicide when compared to people of Hispanic or African American descent when bipolar disorder is diagnosed.
34. The economic cost of suicide death in the U.S. was estimated in 2010 to be more than $44 billion annually.
35. Almost 500,000 people every year seek help at a hospital because of self-harm behavior, but don’t see out help before they make an attempt on their life.
36. In young people, there are 25 suicide attempts for every completed suicide. In the elderly population demographics, there are 4 suicide attempts for every completed one.
37. Non-fatal injuries due to self-harm cost an estimated $2 billion annually for medical care.
38. More than $4 billion in lost wages and productivity occurs annually because of suicide attempts.
39. 4.5 million. That’s the estimated number of survivors of suicide that are living in the United States right now.
40. 3 out of 4 successful suicides have the individual involved testing positive for at least one controlled substance, such as cocaine or heroin.
Also known as manic-depressive disorder, this mental illness invariably results in negative outcomes for the individual. The rapid changes in mood and behavior can damage relationships beyond repair, create a poor job performance that leads to a termination, or reduce a student’s grades at school. When left untreated, there is also an increase in the risks of suicide.
The good news is that bipolar disorder can be treated. Many people with this mental illness go on to continue living lives that are very fulfilling.
How Can Bipolar Disorder Be Recognized Early?
It is important to note that bipolar disorder must be a major change from a person’s current baseline. It doesn’t always have to include negative symptoms for it to be present. Someone who is normally extremely pessimistic and then becomes extremely joyful may also have issues with this mental illness.
There are four types of bipolar disorder to example. Bipolar I is the most recognized because of its presence of manic episodes. Manic symptoms must be present for a least 7 days or be so severe that hospitalization is required. Depressive symptoms may also be present and will usually last for 2 weeks.
Bipolar II has depressive episodes and mild manic episodes that do not reach the full-blown mania of Bipolar I. There will not be a mixture of depression and mania in Bipolar II either.
Sometimes a person with bipolar disorder will not fit into either of the two primary categories, yet still have symptoms that are present. In this instance, a diagnosis of NOS [Not Otherwise Specified] may be issued. The symptoms must be outside of a person’s normal character, but not meet the definitions of the other two variants.
A final option is called Cyclothymia. This is a milder form of bipolar disorder and episodes must occur for a minimum of 24 months for a diagnosis to be achieved. Tests are used to exclude other possible medical conditions that could be causing the depression or mania. If no other reason for the symptoms can be diagnosed, then bipolar disorder will typically be considered responsible for the symptoms.
Can Bipolar Disorder Be Cured?
There is not a cure for any form of bipolar disorder. Treatments, however, are successful about 80% of the time. Treatment is a long-term process that often requires ongoing medication compliance and supervision. Unlike other mental illnesses, treatment successes are available in even the most severe forms of this mental illness. Mood swings may still occur even when treatment is being sought, which can be very difficult to accept.
Even in the general population, depression is considered to be the greatest risk factor to consider suicide as a viable option. Now imagine someone having a depressive incident that is 1000x stronger than what the general population experiences and that’s why bipolar disorder and suicide are so linked.
Treatment is most effective when under the continual supervision of a doctor. If you suspect bipolar disorder may be causing your symptoms or the symptoms a family or friend is experiencing, then seek out treatment today. Half of all people never seek out treatment and 2 out of 5 people in that group will see no other outcome but suicide. The challenges of bipolar disorder may be great, but they can be overcome. The statistics prove it.