Living with Bipolar Disorder

Living with Bipolar Disorder

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million people in the U.S., or nearly 3 percent of the population over the age of 18 in a given year. 

The second in AFSP’s educational series on mental disorders, the Living with Bipolar Disorder program includes a 40-minute film that addresses the misinformation that clouds our understanding of bipolar disorder. It features the stories of three people who have been treated for bipolar disorder, as well as the widow of a man who struggled with a mood disorder that was most likely undiagnosed bipolar illness, and ultimately died by suicide.

Dr. Joseph Calabrese, professor of psychiatry at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio, narrates the film, walking viewers through the complexity of the illness, from diagnosis to treatment to recovery. In the film, Calabrese highlights key symptoms from each person’s story to emphasize important steps that each individual took to improve their lives. The film also features an introduction by actor Joe Pantoliano.

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By introducing real people living with bipolar disorder and showing that they can live happy, productive lives with treatment and support, we believe this film will encourage those who are struggling to seek help. —AFSP Medical Director Dr. Paula Clayton.

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After watching the film, viewers will understand that bipolar disorder is a treatable illness that can affect anyone—it starts at a young age often with depression; it is frequently comorbid with generalized anxiety disorder and alcohol or substance abuse; it is commonly misdiagnosed; achieving and maintaining wellness is a difficult but attainable goal for most patients; and the best way to prevent suicide is to recognize and treat the illness(es).

The film is available for purchase from the AFSP Store.

Trailer for Living with Bipolar Disorder.