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New National Online Survey Says Bipolar Depressive Symptoms Have Impact on Day-To-Day Tasks as Well as Social Activities(1)
Date:4/17/2009

Ninety Percent of People Being Treated for Bipolar Disorder Say They Have Difficulty with Day-To-Day Tasks Due to Depressive Symptoms (1)

WASHINGTON, April 17 /PRNewswire/ -- A new national online survey of more than 2,000 people living with bipolar disorder and 500 physicians who treat patients with bipolar disorder identified that the greatest concern among people living with bipolar disorder (73%) is that their symptoms will impact daily life, such as family, relationships, or job.(1) In particular, about 9 in 10 patients (89%) said they have cancelled social engagements because of bipolar depression.(1) In addition, people with bipolar disorder reported that bipolar depressive symptoms affected their ability to manage housework (73%) and run errands (59%).(1) This online survey was commissioned by the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare and AstraZeneca to better understand the impact of bipolar depression on people's lives.

Bipolar disorder may affect approximately 8 million American adults.(2,3) People with bipolar disorder experience extreme mood swings from lows, called bipolar depression, to highs, called bipolar mania.(4) Many people with bipolar disorder report spending more time in the depressive phase(5) -- which includes feelings of sadness and emptiness, depressed moods and inability to concentrate -- than in the manic phase.(4) This fact was confirmed in the online survey, with 61 percent of people with bipolar disorder saying their depressive episodes last longer than their manic episodes.(1)

"This survey clearly demonstrates that many people with bipolar disorder are feeling the effects of bipolar depression in their day-to-day lives," said Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare. "Bipolar disorder is a manageable disease, but there are a number of factors that can get in the way of successful treatment."

In fact, the online survey revealed some communication challenges that people with bipolar disorder have with their physicians.(1) For example, forty-one percent of patients said they wished they could be more open about their bipolar depression symptoms with their health care professional.(1) In addition, 72% of physicians agreed that many of their patients don't know how to accurately describe their bipolar depression symptoms.(1)

"Strong communication between patients and physicians is one of the most critical factors in effectively managing bipolar disorder," said Rosenberg. "From a patient perspective, it's important to share all symptoms and experiences so your doctor has a detailed picture of your day-to-day life. In turn, physicians can encourage patients to be true partners in developing an appropriate treatment plan to successfully manage their bipolar depression."

Rosenberg also recommended the following steps for patients to strengthen communication with their health care professional:

  • Describe how you're feeling to the best of your ability. It's OK if you don't know the clinical language -- just use your own words.
  • Jot down any questions and concerns you have beforehand so you don't forget them.
  • Don't hesitate to share anything and everything with your doctor, even if it feels personal or unimportant. Your doctor is best-equipped to help you when he or she has all the information.
  • Work with your doctor to set expectations and goals for your treatment. For many patients, these may be "everyday" goals, like getting back to a regular work schedule or spending more time with family and friends.

To learn more about bipolar disorder, including additional tips for an effective patient-physician dialogue, visit www.thenationalcouncil.org or www.facingbipolar.com. Another resource to learn more about how to help someone with bipolar disorder or other mental health problems is "Mental Health First Aid," which is a public education program active in communities across the nation (www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org).

About the Online Survey

The Bipolar Depression Treatment Dynamic was conducted by StrategyOne, an applied research consulting firm, on behalf of the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare and AstraZeneca. The online survey polled 2,005 American bipolar disorder patients (25 to 64 years of age) and 500 clinicians who treat patients with bipolar disorder (250 psychiatrists; 250 primary care physicians) to determine how they view the personal toll of depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder.(1) The online surveys, which for the patient sample had a margin of error of +/-2.2% and for the physician sample had a margin of error of +/-4.4%, were conducted using the field services of Harris Interactive Service Bureau from February 11, 2009, through February 27, 2009 and February 19, 2009, respectively.(1) As with all surveys of this type, this survey was not designed to be a scientific survey. Surveys of this type are by their nature limited due to potential sampling inconsistencies and other factors.

About the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare

The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) association of 1,600 behavioral healthcare organizations that provide treatment and rehabilitation for mental illnesses and addictions disorders to nearly six million adults, children and families in communities across the country. The National Council and its members bear testimony to the fact that medical, social, psychological and rehabilitation services offered in community settings help people with mental illnesses and addiction disorders recover and lead productive lives. For more information about the National Council, please visit: www.thenationalcouncil.org.

About AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca is engaged in the research, development, manufacturing and marketing of prescription medicines and in the supply of healthcare services. AstraZeneca is one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies with global healthcare sales of $31.6 billion and is a leader in the gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory, oncology and infectious disease areas. In the United States, AstraZeneca is a $13.5 billion dollar healthcare business. For more information about AstraZeneca in the US or our AZ&Me Prescription Savings programs, please visit: www.astrazeneca-us.com.


    CONTACTS:

    Media Inquiries:
    Meena Dayak
    National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare
    Phone: 301-984-6200 x 228
    E-mail: MeenaD@thenationalcouncil.org

References

  1. Data on file, 278295, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP.
  2. US Bureau of the Census. Available at: http://www.census.gov/popest/national/asrh/NC-EST2005/NC-EST2005-02.xls. Accessed on March 20, 2009.
  3. Hirschfeld RMA, Calabrese JR, Weissman MM, et al. Screening for Bipolar in the Community. J Clin Psychiatry. 2003; 64:53-59.
  4. American Psychiatric Association (APA). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision. Washington, DC: APA; 2000.
  5. Calabrese JR, Hirschfeld RMA, Frye MA, et al. Impact of Depressive Symptoms Compared with Manic Symptoms in Bipolar Disorder: Results of a U.S. Community-Based Sample. J Clin Psychiatry. 2004;65:1499-1504


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SOURCE National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare
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