Bipolar Disorder Statistics | Mental Illness In Numbers

If you have bipolar disorder, you should know that you’re not alone. More people are affected by severe mood swings and manic episodes than you might think.

However, many patients and onlookers misunderstand the illness, affecting the success rate of a person’s treatment plan. Knowing more about who bipolar affects, how it’s treated, and its implications can make a big difference in your recovery.

In this guide, you’ll learn more about the different kinds of bipolar disorder, its prevalence across the United States, and the effectiveness of existing treatment plans.

Types Of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder can be further characterized into three different types:

Bipolar I

Bipolar I disorder can trigger manic episodes that last up to a week. Hallucinations and delusions are severe and can result in hospitalization. People with this type of mood disorder also experience other symptoms such as long-lasting depression.

Bipolar II

People diagnosed with bipolar II disorder are less likely to experience severe mania. However, they are prone to longer-lasting depression and might experience hypomania. During hypomanic episodes, patients are easily agitated, have too much energy, and are erratic – a hypomanic bipolar person might experience several ups and downs in a single week.


If you experience frequent mood episodes and swings, you might be suffering from cyclothymia. While highs and lows are not as severe as people with bipolar I or II disorder, the frequency of mood swings can become exhausting.

Prevalence Of Bipolar Disorder

Worldwide, roughly 45 million people have bipolar disorder. According to the World Health Organization, it is the sixth leading cause of inactivity or disability.

This mental health condition can occur in children, adolescents, and adults alike. Below is a closer look at the lifetime prevalence of this persisting disease and other relevant bipolar statistics.

Bipolar Disorder In Adults

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 5.7 million Americans become diagnosed with bipolar disorder every year. As per Harvard Medical School, that’s 2.8% of the entire United States population.

While the disease is equally prevalent in both men and women, men are more likely to develop symptoms of bipolar disorder in their younger years. However, women with a type II disorder are more likely to experience rapid cycling and extreme mood shifts.

The typical adult will receive a bipolar disorder diagnosis by the time they are 25-years-old. However, there are cases of adults getting diagnosed with mood disorders up to the age of 60.

Bipolar Disorder In Children & Teenagers

A child diagnosed with bipolar disorder will most likely have at least one parent who also suffers from the disease. If both parents suffer from a mental health disorder, the chances of the child contracting it increase by 50% to 75%.

A teenager who suffers from a manic depressive illness is more likely to develop bipolar disorder within the first five years of diagnosis. However, the illness manifests physically instead of mentally – children might complain of headaches, insufficient activity levels, or even stomachaches.

Bipolar Disorder Facts & Other Medical Conditions

Many people with bipolar disorder are likely to suffer from other related mental health conditions such as depression and various substance use disorders. Take a closer look at how these illnesses play a role in treatment and recovery.


When people with bipolar disorder are unable to control their symptoms, they often turn to self-medication. Without the appropriate treatment plan, substance abuse can develop into addiction. Either type of bipolar disorder, when coupled with a history of addiction, has a comorbidity risk of 60%.


Most of the time, people with bipolar disorder experience severe weight gain and, eventually, obesity. 35% of bipolar people are also obese.

When episodes of mania become uncontrollable, people tend to cope by binge eating. These bad habits can lead to extended periods of mania and depression, increasing a patient’s chances of contracting heart disease or diabetes.


Statistics show that 5% to 15% of bipolar patients with other mood conditions will develop rapid cycling. When these symptoms worsen, patients engage in self-destructive behavior and increase their chances of becoming a suicide risk. Patients who become manic-depressive are also less likely to seek help or more intensive treatment options.

Other Mood Disabilities

Contrary to popular belief, it is possible – and likely – to get diagnosed with another mental illness alongside bipolar disorder. Most patients with bipolar disorder also seek help for:

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Anxiety
  • Eating problems
  • Neurological or brain disorders

While such patients can lead perfectly normal lives, amplified symptoms such as extremely high energy, severe lows, and disjointed thinking can make recovery difficult.

The Effects Of Bipolar Disorder

Patients with bipolar disorder and other mental health problems experienced a reduced life span of up to 9.2 years. This shortened life expectancy is partly due to a higher suicide risk rate of 15% to 17%. Without the appropriate treatment plan, 60% of this population will also develop a substance use disorder.

Bipolar Disorder Treatment

Though only half of diagnosed patients get treated for bipolar disorder within the same year, the National Institute of Mental Health found that 70% to 85% of patients on the appropriate medication successfully recover. Support groups have been particularly successful in the last few years, with a treatment compliance rate of almost 86%.

While most side effects remain challenging to eliminate, 9 out of 10 patients are satisfied with their help and feel like less of a suicide risk. Patients who continue to struggle with their symptoms are encouraged to seek other treatment options for their illness.

The Bottom Line

Anyone can develop bipolar disorder – even children and adolescents. As the disease becomes more prevalent in the United States and around the world, patients are encouraged to take their diagnosis seriously.

If you or a loved one suffer from a weekly manic episode and believe that bipolar disorder is the culprit, seek help for your symptoms from Transformations Treatment Center. With assistance from our experts, you can return to a functional daily life and take control of your condition.