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Conclusion

There are many highly successful people with bipolar disorder. People may go for years between episodes of depression or mania/hypomania. The key to doing well in life despite the presence of the disorder is to recognize when episodes are coming on, take time off from work before damage occurs, and get treatment to end the episode as quickly as possible. One of the biggest problems is that people often do not realize that an episode is coming on. People may think that the person is stressed or using drugs and may not insist that the person obtain psychiatric help. For unclear reasons, people with bipolar disorder have a marked tendency to deny having psychiatric problems until they have had several episodes. Friends and family can be very helpful in fighting the denial and insisting on treatment rather than sitting back and letting the person self-destruct.

Bipolar disorder is more common than generally appreciated. Rough-ly one percent of the population fulfills the diagnostic criteria. Five percent of people, however, have the basic problem although they do not adequately fulfill the criteria to be given the diagnosis. Nevertheless, their functioning can be seriously impaired. People generally go for years before the correct diagnosis is made and treatment is begun. Meanwhile, the individual does considerable damage to their career and personal lives.


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