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  • 5 Reasons Why Bipolar Awareness Day is Important

    Every year on March 30, the world raises awareness of bipolar disorder – a mental health disorder that impacts nearly 6 million people in America. That being said, bipolar disorder has an impact that goes far beyond numbers and impacts all of society. So, on World Bipolar Day, we’ve listed some aspects of bipolar disorder that are important to understand, so you can help combat social stigma.


    Bipolar disorder is often misdiagnosed as other mental health conditions. Without proper awareness and understanding of bipolar disorder, people may not receive the correct diagnosis and treatment. Here are some reasons why misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder are very common

    Similarity to other disorders: Bipolar disorder shares many symptoms with other mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This can lead to confusion among healthcare professionals in identifying the specific disorder.

    Complexity of the disorder: Bipolar disorder is a complex and multifaceted disorder, with different types and subtypes that can present differently in different individuals. This complexity can make it difficult to diagnose and treat.

    Self-reporting bias: Patients may not report all their symptoms, or may not be able to accurately describe their symptoms, which can lead to an incomplete or inaccurate diagnosis.

    Misunderstanding of the disorder: Bipolar disorder is often misunderstood and stigmatized (more on that below), leading to misinterpretation of symptoms by healthcare professionals, as well as delays in seeking treatment due to fear and shame.

    Comorbidity with other disorders: Bipolar disorder frequently co-occurs with other mental health disorders, which can complicate diagnosis and treatment. It is important for healthcare professionals to consider all possible diagnoses and rule out other disorders before making a final diagnosis of bipolar disorder.


    There is still a lot of stigma surrounding mental illness, including bipolar disorder. Raising awareness can help reduce this stigma and increase understanding and acceptance of people living with bipolar disorder. Here are more reasons why bipolar disorder is often stigmatized:

    Misunderstanding and fear: Many people have a limited understanding of bipolar disorder and may fear or avoid individuals with the disorder due to misconceptions about its symptoms and potential for violence.

    Stereotypes and media representation: Bipolar disorder is often portrayed negatively in the media, with sensationalized stories of individuals with the disorder acting out or being violent. This reinforces negative stereotypes and misconceptions about the disorder.

    Self-stigma: Some individuals with bipolar disorder may internalize the stigma and feel ashamed or embarrassed about their condition, leading them to hide or deny their symptoms and avoid seeking treatment.

    Discrimination: People with bipolar disorder may face discrimination in areas such as employment, housing, and healthcare due to the stigma associated with the disorder.

    Lack of education and awareness: Many people may not have access to accurate information about bipolar disorder or mental health in general, leading to misunderstandings and stigmatization.

    Reducing stigma around bipolar disorder and other mental health conditions requires education, awareness, and destigmatization efforts at both the individual and societal levels. It is important to recognize that bipolar disorder is a medical condition that requires treatment and support, not a character flaw or weakness.


    Bipolar disorder can be a very isolating experience. Raising awareness can help individuals with bipolar disorder and their loved ones connect with support groups and other resources that can provide valuable information, encouragement, and support. Some ways you can support a loved one who has bipolar disorder include:

    Educate yourself: Learn as much as you can about bipolar disorder and its symptoms. This can help you understand what your loved one is going through and how you can best support them.

    Be patient and understanding: People with bipolar disorder may experience mood swings, irritability, and other symptoms that can be difficult to manage. Try to be patient and understanding, and avoid taking their behavior personally.

    Encourage treatment: Encourage your loved one to seek treatment for their bipolar disorder. This may include therapy, medication, or a combination of both. Offer to help them find a therapist or psychiatrist, and support them in attending appointments.

    Communicate openly: Encourage open and honest communication with your loved one about their symptoms and how they are feeling. Listen without judgment and offer support and encouragement.

    Take care of yourself: Supporting a loved one with bipolar disorder can be stressful, so it’s important to take care of your own physical and emotional needs. Make time for self-care activities, seek support from friends and family, and consider joining a support group for caregivers of people with bipolar disorder.

    Remember, bipolar disorder is a treatable condition, and with the right support and treatment, many people with the disorder are able to manage their symptoms and lead fulfilling lives.

    Suicide prevention

    As mentioned, bipolar disorder is treatable, however, the risk of suicide for individuals with the diagnosis is unfortunately very high. An estimated 1 in 5 people diagnosed with bipolar disorder dies by suicide. World Bipolar Day is an opportunity to show those living with the day-to-day challenges of this condition they are not alone, they have your support, and there is always hope.


    Effective treatment is available for bipolar disorder, but it is important that individuals receive an accurate diagnosis and access to appropriate treatment. For many individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder, treatment options can include medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes.

    Medication: Mood-stabilizing medications, such as lithium, antipsychotics, and anticonvulsants, are often used to help manage symptoms of bipolar disorder. Some individuals may also benefit from antidepressants, although their use can be controversial.

    Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), can help individuals with bipolar disorder better understand and manage their symptoms. Therapy can also help with problem-solving, stress management, and improving relationships.

    Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): ECT is a treatment that involves sending an electric current through the brain to induce a brief seizure. It is typically used when medication and therapy have not been effective in treating severe symptoms.

    Lifestyle changes: Making lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a regular sleep schedule, exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding alcohol and drugs, can help manage symptoms of bipolar disorder.

    Support groups: Support groups for individuals with bipolar disorder and their families can provide emotional support and practical advice for coping with the disorder.

    If you or someone you know is struggling, please know that help is available. Here at Mind Body Co-op we have a team of dedicated, licensed clinicians with experience working alongside individuals who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder as well as other mental health conditions.

    Mind Body Co-op is Chicago’s only space for individuals to discover, explore, and heal what is occurring internally at the cognitive, emotional, and physical levels. This unique, holistic approach to treatment and wellness is born out of the belief that examining the cognitive, emotional, and physical pieces and how they intersect helps lead to uncovering your full potential by providing thoughtful, collaborative, and complete integrative mental health care. We offer a variety of clinical services, including individual psychotherapy, group psychotherapy, psychological/neuropsychological assessments, medication management, DBT, adventure therapy, therapeutic yoga, and more. We provide culturally-competent services in English, Spanish, Polish, and Arabic. Learn more.