Survey Highlights Difficulties of Living With Bipolar Disorder

Struggles include finding the right medication and medication side effects
man showing the signs of stress
man showing the signs of stress

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THURSDAY, Jan. 13, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Living with and managing bipolar I disorder (BD-I) remains a profoundly challenging experience, according to the results of a survey released by the pharmaceutical company Alkermes and the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.

The survey, conducted online by The Harris Poll during August 2021 on behalf of Alkermes, included 305 U.S. adults (aged 18 to 60 years) living with BD-I and who took BD-I medication at the time of the survey or in the year prior to the survey.

According to the results of the survey, four of five respondents reported feeling that no one understands what they are going through, and three of four said BD-I makes them feel isolated and alone. Furthermore, roughly half of respondents said they were less productive at work or at school and tried to hide their condition from colleagues or classmates. More than one in four respondents said they are concerned about sleep quality (28 percent), motivation and energy to do things they enjoy (28 percent), and frequency of depressive symptoms or episodes (27 percent). Patients, on average, tried seven medications to treat their BD-I, with seven in 10 saying it has been difficult to find a BD-I medication that works well for them. The vast majority of respondents said they experienced medication side effects (93 percent), including weight gain (56 percent), anxiety (56 percent), and drowsiness and sleepiness (53 percent).

"Living with and managing bipolar I disorder can be a profoundly challenging experience, but it is important to remember that people with this condition can lead stable, enjoyable, and fulfilling lives," Michael Pollock, CEO of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, said in a statement.

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