People with bipolar disorder are at great risk for suicide if they are not getting treatment. The National Mental Health Association reports that 30%-70% of suicide victims have suffered from a form of depression. Men commit almost 75% of suicides, even though twice as many women attempt suicide.
Because of increased awareness and diagnosis, more people than ever before
have a basic understanding of bipolar disorder, the condition
formally known as manic depression.
Yet myths persist about this mental disorder that causes mood shifts from
depression to mania and affects a person's
energy and ability to function.
WebMD asked five bipolar disorder experts to help unravel what's myth and
what's fact. Read on for the eight common myths about bipolar they often hear
from patients and the...
Family history of mental or substance abuse disorders
Having attempted suicide previously
Having a family history of physical or sexual abuse
Having family members or friends who have attempted suicide
Keeping a firearm in the home
If you or someone you know is at risk for suicide -- and has shown warning signs -- do not leave them alone. Seek the help of a health care professional right away. People often talk about suicide before they attempt it, so pay close attention to what they are saying and take them seriously.
Some warning signs of suicide include:
Talking about suicide
Always talking or thinking about death
Making comments about being hopeless, helpless, or worthless
Saying things like "It would be better if I wasn't here" or "I want out"
A sudden switch from being very sad to being very calm or appearing to be happy
Having a "death wish," tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death, like driving through red lights
Losing interest in things one used to care about
Visiting or calling people one cares about
Putting affairs in order, tying up lose ends, changing a will
Call 911 if You:
Think you cannot stop from harming yourself
Want to commit suicide
You know someone who has mentioned wanting to commit suicide
WebMD Medical Reference: "Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depressive Disorder)."
WebMD Assess Plus: Bipolar Disorder Assessment. National Institute for Mental Health: "Step-BD Womens Studies."Massachusetts General Hospital Bipolar Clinic & Research Program.
MedicineNet.com: "Bipolar Disorder (Mania)."
WebMD Medical Reference: "Effects of Untreated Depression."
American Psychiatric Association: "Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients With Bipolar Disorder."