Jakarta, IO – World Bipolar Day is commemorated on 30 March each year, the same date as the birthday of legendary artist Vincent van Gogh as a moment to remind everyone of the importance of mental health. In 2023, the theme is “Bipolar Together”, as it is crucial for bipolar disorder sufferers to know that they are not alone.
According to a 2010 study, bipolar disorder is one of the top three causes of suicide, other than major depression and psychophrenic disorder. “According to 2019 WHO data, the global prevalence of this disorder is 4.10, or more than four in every ten people suffer from it. Bipolar disorder is the sixth cause of disability worldwide, and 1% of the global population suffers from it. ‘One percent’ may not seem much, but with the current world population at 7.888 billion, that’s still 78,880,000 bipolar sufferers worldwide. The focus of commemorating World Bipolar Day is to help the sufferers of this condition, to raise empathy for them and to show them that they are not alone, and to eliminate the social stigmas attached to it,” declared drg. R. Vensya Sihotang, M.Epid,, the Ministry of Health’s Director of Mental Health, in an opening speech of the “World Bipolar Day” webinar on Tuesday (11/4/2023).
“Bipolar” means “two opposing points”. Individuals with bipolar disorder suffer from extreme mood swings that occur without warning, ranging from extreme joy and rage, to sadness and desperation. The swings occur in such a way that it disturbs the sufferer’s daily routines and relationships. Even though nobody has determined the exact cause of the disorder, it has three risk factors: genetic, biological (neurotransmitter disorders), or environment as stressors. More women suffer from bipolar disorder than men, because it is related to hormonal imbalance, mood swings, and misperceptions.
“There are many relevant factors, one of them being that women tend to react more viscerally and emotionally than logically, when faced with problems. Bipolar disorders are also common among the elderly, behavior frequently mistaken as ‘tantrum periods’ among children,” declared dr. Agustina Konginan, Sp.KJ(K), a psychiatrist practicing at the Dr. Soegiri Regional Public General Hospital in Lamongan. East Java and member of the Indonesian Psychology Specialists’ Association (Perhimpunan Dokter Spesialis Kedokteran Jiwa Indonesia – “PDSKJI”).
This mood disorder has three clinical symptoms: the manic episode, the hypomanic episode, and the depressive episode. “Hypomania is not so severe that it causes an obvious disruption in the sufferer’s social or professional functions, nor does it require hospitalization. Manic episodes are characterized by psychotic features. Phases of bipolar disorder: normal frame of mind: depression, mania, hypomania, mixed episodes,” dr. Agustina explains.
Symptoms of bipolar disorder include manic and depressive phases. The manic phase is characterized by excess confidence, less need of sleep, unusual boasting or pressuring oneself to continue talking, easily distracted by trivial or irrelevant external stimuli, zero consideration while constantly thinking, excess participation in potentially dangerous and/or painful activities.