Bipolar disorder seems to slip under the radar of public awareness. Respondents to a telephone survey about mood disorders rarely thought of it: Almost four out of five Americans did not name it as a disorder.
The survey, sponsored by the National Alliance of the Mentally Ill, found that women age 35 to 54 and college-age students were the most aware of the disease. Adults over 55 knew least about it. Almost four out of ten people could not think of any symptoms related to bipolar disorder or manic depression, as it is also known.
The survey respondents who could name some of the symptoms of the disorder had only a cursory sense of them. Some 38 percent mentioned mood swings and 15 percent knew that sufferers often experience bouts of depression.