“Strength for Today, Hope for Tomorrow”: Celebrating World Bipolar Day

Quo Vadis Trust is proud to support World Bipolar Day, which is celebrated on 30 March each year.

What is World Bipolar Day?

The vision of World Bipolar Day is to raise global awareness of and education about bipolar disorders, to encourage discussion, and to reduce the stigma that is shown towards people who are living with bipolar disorders. World Bipolar Day’s strapline is Strength for Today, Hope for Tomorrow.

Why does WBD take place on 30 March each year?

This date was chosen because it is the birthday of the artist Vincent van Gogh, who was posthumously diagnosed as being likely to have had bipolar disorder.

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that triggers atypical changes in mood and levels of energy or activity, as well as affecting the capacity to carry out day-to-day tasks. Most people who have bipolar experience both manic highs and depressive lows. People of any gender and any age can develop bipolar disorder. Symptoms are often triggered by pressures caused by work, study or emotional difficulties. Hormonal changes that take place during and after childbirth and the menopause have also been found to be triggers.

Bipolar disorder affects all aspects of life, including relationships with family and friends, and ability to work. Additional stress can come in the form of financial problems, which could be caused by loss of earnings, extreme spending during manic episodes or even when trying to plan to avert future difficulties. A holistic approach is therefore needed when managing the condition.

Is there a cure?

No, but with a good understanding of the illness it is possible to control it using a variety of strategies, including medication and therapy.

An early diagnosis is important, as is acknowledging the diagnosis and making lifestyle changes in order to be able to control the symptoms and manage the condition. There are several different categorisations of bipolar disorder and it is important to see a specialist in order to receive the correct diagnosis and treatment plan.

Unfortunately, in the UK it takes an average of 10.5 years to receive a correct diagnosis of bipolar and, compared with other health problems, treatment is often delayed due to stigma and a lack of understanding.

How many people suffer with bipolar disorder?

According to Bipolar UK, between 1% and 2% of the population experience a lifetime prevalence and recent research suggests as many as 5% of us are on the bipolar spectrum. The World Health Organisation has identified bipolar disorder as the sixth leading case of disability in the world, as well as being one of the top causes of lost years of life and health in 15 to 44 year olds.

A global solution is needed to address this problem, and experts from around the world support many differing research projects that are being undertaken to investigate causes, the genetic make-up of the condition, improved diagnosis methods and treatments, and tactics for living better and living well with bipolar disorder. World Bipolar Day is an important part of this global collaboration which brings together researchers, medical practitioners and advocacy groups.

More Information

Bipolar UK’s website has lots of information about bipolar disorder. You can call their support line on 0333 323 3880 or find a support group here.

In addition, we would recommend that you speak to your GP and/or keyworker if you have any concerns or questions.