Bipolar disorder is something Demi knows about firsthand.

Before Demi received her diagnosis, she spent a lot of her life feeling vulnerable, sad and withdrawn. At times she couldn’t even find the strength to get out of bed. After years of abusing her body and self-medicating, she hit rock bottom and was admitted to an inpatient treatment facility. This is when she was finally diagnosed with the depressive phase of bipolar disorder, called bipolar depression.

By working with her support team she was able to partner with a health care professional, open up to family and friends, and over time find a treatment plan that worked for her.

Demi Lovato opens up about living well with a mental health condition

Getting a diagnosis was kind of a relief. It helped me start to make sense of the harmful things I was doing to cope with what I was experiencing.

Now I had no choice but to move forward and learn how to live with it, so I worked with my health care professional and tried different treatment plans until I found what works for me.

Living well with bipolar disorder is possible, but it takes patience, it takes work and it is an ongoing process. The reality is that you’re not a car that goes into a shop and gets fixed right away. Everyone’s process and treatment plan may be different.

I am so grateful for my life today and I want to protect it. It isn’t always easy to take positive steps each day, but I know I have to in order to stay healthy.

If you are struggling today with a mental health condition, you may not be able to see it as clearly right away but please don’t give up – things can get better.

You are worthy of more and there are people who can help. Asking for help is a sign of strength.

Getting a diagnosis was kind of a relief. It helped me start to make sense of the harmful things I was doing to cope with what I was experiencing.



Now I had no choice but to move forward and learn how to live with it, so I worked with my health care professional and tried different treatment plans until I found what works for me.

Living well with bipolar disorder is possible, but it takes patience, it takes work and it is an ongoing process. The reality is that you’re not a car that goes into a shop and gets fixed right away. Everyone’s process and treatment plan may be different.

I am so grateful for my life today and I want to protect it. It isn’t always easy to take positive steps each day, but I know I have to in order to stay healthy.

If you are struggling today with a mental health condition, you may not be able to see it as clearly right away but please don’t give up – things can get better.

You are worthy of more and there are people who can help. Asking for help is a sign of strength.

BIPOLAR DISORDER

Bipolar disorder affects approximately 12.6 million individuals in the United States and an estimated 29 million people worldwide.3,4

A person is usually diagnosed with bipolar disorder when they experience at least one manic episode, and the occurrence of both the manic and depressive episodes that are not better explained by another mental health condition, such as schizophrenia.5

Although each person's experience is unique, bipolar disorder is characterized by debilitating mood swings.6 While some people experience periods of stable mood and behavior after a period of abnormally excited or elevated mood, or mania, everyone with bipolar disorder will eventually go through at least one depressive episode, also known as bipolar depression.7,8 When individuals with bipolar disorder are experiencing symptoms, most tend to be depressed, rather than manic.5

There are many different types of mental health conditions that cause individuals to feel depressed. The presence of sadness and feelings of emptiness and irritability are shared across most forms of depression. These symptoms can diminish a person's ability to set goals and complete activities that once seemed simple.3

While everyone's experience is unique, many people seek help during the depressive phase of bipolar disorder when they're experiencing symptoms.5

Symptoms of depression often persist over a two week period and may include:3

Symptoms of mania are typically persistent for at least one week and include:

IMPACT

  • Bipolar disorder can create significant losses in people's ability to function and enjoy life.9
  • It can affect personal and work relationships, create stress for the individual and their family, and reduce expected lifespan.7,10,11

CAUSE, DIAGNOSIS AND MANAGEMENT

  • Although research is ongoing, there is no single cause for bipolar disorder. In fact, there are many contributing factors including genetics and environmental factors.4,12
  • Diagnosis can be a long process and can take up to 10 years. It can take 15-20 years for those with alcohol or drug problems to be diagnosed properly.5
  • For many, the symptoms can be controlled.13

IS IT TIME TO SPEAK UP?

For Demi and many others, as part of a holistic approach to wellness, a comprehensive care plan may include treatment. Demi’s experience of working with her health care professional to try different treatments before finding what works for her can be common.

In order to evaluate your current treatment, consider taking this Treatment Questionnaire. You can print the results, take them to the next appointment with your health care professional, and discuss possible changes to your treatment plan.



3. "Bipolar Disorder." Decision Resources. December 2013.
4. World Health Organization. Global Burden of Disease, 2004 Report. [Internet]. Available from: http://www.who.int. Accessed March 29, 2013 (To Access: Health Topics, Global Burden of Disease, The Global Burden of Disease: 2004 Update).
5. American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Fifth Edition. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association, 2013.
6. National Institute of Mental Health. Bipolar Disorder. [Internet]. Available from: http://www.nimh.nih.gov. Accessed March 29, 2013 (To Access: Health & Education, Bipolar Disorder (Manic-Depressive Illness), Featured Publications About Bipolar Disorder, Bipolar Disorder).
7. The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. Mood Disorders and Different Kinds of Depression. [Internet]. Available from: http://www.dbsalliance.org. Accessed March 29, 2013 (To Access: Education, Brochures, Mood Disorders and Depression and Bipolar Disorder).
8. Mental Health America. Bipolar Disorder: What You Need to Know. [Internet]. Available from: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/. Accessed March 29, 2013 (To Access: Health Info, Mental Health Info, Bipolar Disorder, Bipolar Disorder: What You Need to Know).
9. National Alliance on Mental Illness. The Impact and Cost of Mental Illness: The Case of Bipolar Disorder. [Internet]. Available from: http://www.nami.org. Accessed March 29, 2013 (To Access: Communities, Living With, Bipolar Disorder).
10. Perlick, DA et al. Impact of Family Burden and Affective Response on Clinical Outcome Among Patients with Bipolar Disorder. Psychiatric Serv. 2004 Sep; 55(9): 1029-1035.
11. The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. Bipolar Disorder Statistics. [Internet] Available from: http://www.dbsalliance.org. Accessed March 29, 2013 (To Access: Education, Bipolar Disorder, Bipolar Disorder Statistics).
12. Nurnberger JI, Jr., Foroud T. Genetics of bipolar affective disorder. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2000 Apr;2(2):147-157.
13. Pary R, Matuschka P, Lewis S, Lippmann S. Managing Bipolar Depression. Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2006 February; 3(2): 30-41.