World Bipolar Day2024-03-30

The mood decides the fortunes of people, rather than the fortunes decide the mood.

Winston Churchill

March 30 is World Bipolar Day. We should understand, help when needed, and celebrate the achievements of, individuals with bipolar disorders. Churchill lived till age 90, arguably helped save the world from Nazism, and got a Nobel Prize for Literature.

Bipolar disorders are characterized by changes in mood between high and low states that last too long, are too intense, and/or are disconnected from the actual resources of the organism and state of the environment. The lows are distressing and usually lead to a clinical diagnosis (depression) and treatment first, when they interfere with daily life. The highs can be periods of increased productivity, but also can create problems for the individual (mania). When that is the case, a clinical diagnosis of bipolar disorder is made. The treatments for just depression vs. bipolar disorder can be quite different, so proper diagnosis is important. In honor of World Bipolar Day, MindX Sciences is offering a 50% discount on all our tests, products and services on orders placed until April 5.

Mood is a normal function of the brain, adapting the levels of activity of the organism to existing resources and the environment. When life is perceived to be bad, with low resources and a hostile environment, activity is decreased to stay out of harms way. When life is perceived to be good, with ample resources and a favorable environment, activity is increased, to capitalize on opportunities. The change in seasons influences people’s moods. As a psychiatrist, I see seasonal depression in Fall and Winter, and (hypo)manias in Spring. It is important to keep track of your mood, make appropriate lifestyle changes, treat when needed, and ideally prevent excessive/clinical episodes. Then, the positive upside of low mood can be used for reflection and recalibration, and the positive upside of high mood can be used for new projects and achieving things.