Individuals who suffer from bipolar disorder often feel as though they are suffering alone; however, this misconception is simply not true. Statistics about bipolar disorder, gathered by the National Institute of Mental Health, reveal that approximately 5.7 million individuals in the United States are afflicted with this disorder. This amounts to almost 2% of the population.
In the majority of patients, the disorder’s symptoms become apparent and full fledged by the age of twenty five. However, a small portion of these individuals, roughly 10% of bipolar patients, do not see an onset of symptoms until they reach their 40’s or 50’s. Another study conducted by the NIMH revealed that two thirds of individuals who suffer from bipolar disorder have at least one close relative who suffers from this affliction or who has suffered from major depression. Although scientists are unsure as to why, this same study also suggested that women are two thirds more likely to suffer from bipolar disorder than men.
Other bipolar disorder statistics show that children who have two parents who suffer from bipolar disorder are 55-75% more likely to develop this disorder than their counterparts. This percentage drops to approximately 15-30% if only one parent has bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder also leads to an increased risk in suicide for patients. According to the World Health Organization, one in five people who have bipolar disorder will commit suicide. Even those who do not commit suicide have, on average, a life span that is 9.2 shorter than that of an non-afflicted counterpart.
If an individual has a parent or child who suffers from depression or is at an increased risk for developing this disorder, then educating themselves about the disease, and its associated statistics, is a necessary step in order to combat the disease.