How common is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar Disorder is characterized by extreme mood swings between depression and mania. It affects an estimated 27 million people worldwide, and has an enormous impact on the quality of life. It is the sixth leading cause of disability in terms of lost years of healthy life in the developed world. Men, women, and even children and adolescents can develop the illness.
Keith Star
Bipolar disorder affects approximately 2 million people in the United States. Both men and women are affected at the same rate.

Family history appears to have some influence over the likelihood of being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is common in those who have a sibling or parent with the illness and in families having several generations affected with mood disorders.
About 5.7 million American over age 18 have bipolar disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. That means roughly 2.6% of adults in this country have the illness. For comparison, consider that nearly 15 million American adults have major depression, or slightly less than 7% of the population.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.