More awareness of bipolar disorder urged

Writer: Xia Yuanjie  |  Editor: Holly Wang  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2021-03-31

The World Bipolar Day falls on March 30 every year. Liu Tiebang, president of Shenzhen Kangning Hospital, introduced bipolar disorder (BD) to the public in an effort to raise awareness for the mental health illness and eliminate social stigma.

Xiaoling, a 22-year-old female resident of Shenzhen, was identified as a patient with bipolar disorder. Breaking up with her boyfriend made Xiaoling upset for a while. However, soon after, she started feeling cheerful in the morning, but by the afternoon, she would suddenly feel like her world was collapsing around her again. Thankfully, after getting treatment in Shenzhen Kangning Hospital, her symptoms and situation have both greatly improved.

Bipolar disorder, also called manic depression, is a mood disorder which can cause a patient’s mood to swing from an extreme high to an extreme low. Manic symptoms can include escalated energy, compulsive spending, quick reaction, abnormal talkativeness, a lack of need for sleep, high self-esteem, impulsive behavior and agitation. Depressive symptoms can include less energy, loss of interest or pleasure, feeling worthless, low self-esteem and suicidal thoughts.

Patients with BD are frequently misdiagnosed as depression. Liu said that while someone is experiencing a manic episode, he or she may be unusually talkative, sociable and outgoing. Patients having these kinds of issues may not realize that they are ill and often do not seek medical care. On the other hand, patients experiencing depressive episodes are more likely to be detected.

In Shenzhen Kangning Hospital, BD inpatients accounted for approximately 18.3 percent of the total patients last year. The prevalence of BD in the general population of Shenzhen is 2.46 percent.

“With the development of treatments and medications, the treatments for BD have been more mature at present. The medications are safer. Patients getting the right treatments at the earlier stage of BD have a higher possibility of recovery; otherwise, the episodes of mania and depression may recur,” said Liu.

For patients with BD, in addition to medication, other methods such as physical treatments, psychological treatments, social support groups and crisis intervention may be useful for managing their symptoms and controlling mood swings.