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 Marcia Purse

United States Has Highest World Rate of Bipolar Disorder, Says Study

By March 14, 2011

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GlobeWorldwide, the rate of bipolar disorder is 2.4% - but in the United States it's 4.4%, says a newly published study by the World Mental Health Survey Initiative that interviewed more than 61,000 people. The study also found that 75% of those with bipolar had at least one other disorder. Panic disorder and other anxiety disorders were the most common of these, followed by behavior and then substance abuse disorders.

Across the world, fewer than half of those with BP received any kind of mental health treatment, and the figure dips to just 25% in low-income countries. The study was conducted in 11 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and New Zealand.

In general, higher-income countries had higher rates of BP than lower-income. Some theories about why this is so include genetics, cultural differences in the way people respond to surveys in general, and cultural reluctance to discuss psychiatric issues.

The lowest national rate of bipolar disorder found was India, with just .1%.

In a statement, the study authors said, "Bipolar disorder - people get manic and then swing to depression - is responsible for the loss of more disability-adjusted life-years than all forms of cancer or major neurologic conditions such as epilepsy and Alzheimer disease, primarily because of its early onset and chronicity across the life span."

"Because so many people note that their illness began in adolescence - a critical time of life for educational, occupational and social development," said the authors, "early detection, intervention, and possibly prevention of subsequent coexisting disorders and complications should be emphasized."

How many of you live in countries other than the United States? What's the attitude in your country regarding mental illness? Is it difficult to get treatment?

Image: WorldAtlas.com

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March 15, 2011 at 3:27 pm
(1) Nancy Bloom says:

Could the higher incidence occur in the United States because we are better at diagnosing the illness than other countries, especially the lower income countries? It makes sense that the number of people diagnosed with this disorder would be higher in higher income countries. Medical care is better and more accessible.

March 19, 2011 at 4:35 pm
(2) raquel. says:

I have ULTRA RAPID CYCLE BI POLAR. I did 20 years research.

November 26, 2011 at 3:30 pm
(3) Janice Willison says:

I am a rapid cycler and am not sure if this is the same as ultra rapid cycler. If it is, I would appreciate any information.
thank you.

March 21, 2011 at 7:54 pm
(4) Brittany says:

I’m only ten and I’m not for sure if I have bipolar or not but I do get mood swings alot Im not for sure

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