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Bipolar Disorder: Two-Sided Trouble

The public's understanding of bipolar disorder is often flawed, especially when it hits celebrities.

Silent Suffering, Public Misunderstanding continued...

Although he considers the damage to his marriage irreparable, Gunter says his new life under treatment has helped him cope with many emotional difficulties.He considers himself fortunate that many of his family and friends have been understanding about his disease.

Gunter worries about the people who do not receive appropriate treatment, pointing to DBSA figures that say roughly seven in 10 consumers are misdiagnosed by doctors at least once. Also, more than a third (35%) of the misdiagnosed suffer for more than 10 years before they are accurately diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

The problem, Gunter says, is that most people will only report some symptoms, and many physicians don't take the time to do a comprehensive evaluation. "So bipolar disorder is very often misdiagnosed as depression, as schizophrenia, and other disorders," he says.

For more information about manic depression, contact the American Psychiatric Association (888-35-PSYCH) or the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (800-826-3632).

Published March 3, 2003.

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