Strength for Today, Hope for Tomorrow - World Bipolar Day

Strength for Today, Hope for Tomorrow - World Bipolar Day

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Highlights:
  • World Bipolar day is observed annually on the 30th March to raise and spread awareness about bipolar disorders and to remove the social stigma associated with this illness.
  • Bipolar disorder (BPD) is a chronic mental condition marked by mood swings from manic highs to feeling down in the doldrums and can seriously impact the quality of one's life.

History of World Bipolar Day

World Bipolar Day (WBD) observed its first year on March 30th, 2014 which happens to be the birthday of Vincent Van Gogh, a world renowned painter, who was posthumously diagnosed as probably having suffered from bipolar disorder.

Objectives of World Bipolar Day

WBD is a joint initiative of the Asian Network of Bipolar Disorder (ANBD), the International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF), and the International Society for Bipolar Disorders
(ISBD), giving impetus to the campaign and making it a global phenomenon.
  • Along with international participation (currently the ISBD has 27 chapters) they work to promote awareness, sharing of information and create a change in the life of patients and their caregivers.
  • WBD aims to sensitize the world population and eliminate the social stigma and ostracism associated with the condition.
  • The ISBD is dedicated to encouraging and funding research activities. It offers  the Samuel Gershon Awards for best original research manuscripts. Also, it conducts several educational programs to help advance the field.

What We Can Do To Raise Awareness About Bipolar Disorders

There are several ways in which we can help and do our bit to raise awareness about this condition and change the way the world views these patients
  • Using social media channels like Facebook and Twitter to share information about BPD or sharing one's personal story of overcoming the illness and inspire others
  • Display the WBD logo on your company/personal website and display educational messages about WBD to spread awareness.  
  • Host a live streaming webinar or a seminar in educational organizations or institutions with experts providing information and clearing myths about bipolar disorder.
  • Feature an article on BPD in your local/national newspaper
  • Display messages and distribute WBD leaflets and flyers in prominent locations in your neighborhood and community, as well as in hospitals and clinical facilities
  • Host a support event for patients and caregivers, family members, and general public to share and learn from others experiences
  • Urging government and local bodies to get involved and make patient friendly policies to make it easier for them to integrate into society
  • Organizing a fundraiser in honor of WBD and donating the proceeds to bipolar disorder research
  • A green color ribbon is used to represent bipolar disorder and green color themed messages can be shared on social media. You can host a sale of green themed souvenirs to raise awareness and collect funds for donation
  • Organizing a walk or sporting event in the community to raise awareness about bipolar disorder

About Bipolar Disorder
  • Bipolar disorder is a common mental condition characterized by mood swings ranging from elation to very low mood and depression. Both these phases can last for several weeks to months
  • It affects 27 million persons worldwide
  • It is the sixth leading cause of disability globally according to the WHO
  • The exact cause of the condition is unknown, but is believed to be a combination of genetics, environment and altered brain chemistry and structure
  • Manic symptoms include having high energy levels, reduced need for sleep and being totally detached from reality.
  • Depressive symptoms include having low energy, loss of interest in daily activities. Associated suicidal ideas may be present
  • There is no cure for the disease and treatment is usually for  lifelong and usually is a combination of medications and psychotherapy.

Living with Bipolar Disorder

Treating symptoms typically requires a combination of medication, counseling, family and doctor support. However, there are many changes you can make in your life to  prevent or at least reduce mood episodes and stay on top of the disease
  • Educate yourself about the illness
  • Do not isolate yourself. Stay connected with others
  • Learn to keep a diary of your symptoms and closely track them and report them to your doctor or counselor
  • Develop coping mechanisms, learn to de-stress, indulge in a hobby, be part of a support group
  • Establish and maintain a healthy routine and habit including diet exercise and sleep
  • Keep your doctors' appointments and be regular with your medicines
  • Have a crisis plan in place including a list of friends or family to call in case things seem to be going out of control

References :
  1. WHO WE ARE - (http://www.isbd.org/WhoWeAre)
  2. Organize a World Bipolar Day Event in Your Community - (http://www.worldbipolarday.org/for-more-information.html)
  3. World Bipolar Day History - (http://ibpf.org/blog/world-bipolar-day-history)
Source: Medindia

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