The British government's drug watchdog has warned yesterday that the doctors are
failing to recognise manic depression, which is also known as bipolar disorder in spite of it being one of the most common mental illness.
It has been reported that patients are waiting on an average for eight years to be accurately diagnosed. It has been explained that if untreated, they suffer from almost 20 years of ill health, of which they might not be able to work for 14 years, and a loss of nine years from their life expectancy.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), while explaining the inheritance of the disorder has published its first guidelines as to how to go about identifying, treating, and managing the condition in adults and children. It has been reported that half a million people in England and Wales that accounts for almost 1% of the population have the condition, and also that they are 28 times more likely to commit suicide than the rest of the public. It was explained that though a total of 2,000 people meaning around 0.4% of those diagnosed kill themselves every year, the disorder is much lesser known than conditions such as schizophrenia.
Richard Morris, professor of psychiatry at Nottingham University and chairman of the guideline committee said, 'This is quite a technical disorder and it hasn't been given the emphasis other conditions have in terms of training of all doctors and health professionals, including psychiatrists. The treatment is quite complicated because bipolar goes in phases and which drug you take depends on which phase you're in. Psychiatrists and health professionals do need help and guidance on which drugs to use in the right conditions. This aims to sharpen their practice. The treatment being provided at present is sub optimal.'
It was explained that bipolar disorder is characterised by the presence of episodes of mania and depression. During a manic episodea, a person exhibits feelings of elation and/or irritability, and when they have depression, they may experience feelings of worthlessness and contemplate suicide or self-harm.
The NICE guidelines has also demanded for an annual physical health reviews, and the need for all healthcare professionals to monitor medication. They advised on the need for psychological therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy should also be contemplated for patients with mild to moderate symptoms. Andrea Sutcliffe, deputy chief executive of Nice said, Bipolar disorder often goes unrecognised or misdiagnosed and more needs to be done to raise awareness of the condition and the fact there are effective treatments.