WILMINGTON, Del., Nov. 11 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- As part of a panel discussion on bipolar disorder, actress Debi Mazar revealed today that her family has been affected firsthand by this disease. Debi was joined in New York by people living with bipolar depression (the depressive phase of bipolar disorder) and healthcare professionals who treat it as part of the SPEAK and Be Heard ... Living With Bipolar Depression campaign. The nationwide program is sponsored by AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN) as part of its ongoing efforts to raise awareness of mental illness.
Mazar, best known for her recent performances on "Dancing with the Stars" and the HBO hit series "Entourage," talked about the impact bipolar depression has had on her family ever since a close relative was diagnosed with the disease 10 years ago. Like many people with this disease, Mazar's family member coped with symptoms for years before getting an accurate diagnosis and starting an effective bipolar depression treatment plan. Today, Mazar's relative has learned to manage the disease effectively with the help of a doctor and the support of Mazar's family.
"I am proud to be part of the SPEAK and Be Heard campaign to recognize other families just like mine who are dealing with this disease," said Mazar. "The goals of the campaign are to offer a voice to people with bipolar depression, inspire hope in families who are struggling with this disease, and show that success is possible with the right treatment and the support of friends, family, and health care professionals."
The SPEAK and Be Heard campaign encourages people with bipolar depression and their caregivers to become role models for others by sharing their challenges and successes in managing the disease. To be part of the panel, patients and caregivers were asked to submit their inspirational stories of living successfully with bipolar depression. Finalists were chosen by leading psychiatrist Dr. Janet Taylor, primary care physician Dr. Brendan Montano, and president of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), Peter Ashenden. Three people with bipolar depression and one caregiver were chosen to share their stories at today's panel discussion with the hope of reshaping the national dialogue on bipolar depression.
"Bipolar depression can interfere with a person's ability to handle tasks related to work or family, making it very disruptive to everyday life," stated Dr. Taylor. "People who have bipolar depression and are still feeling symptoms such as sadness or loss of interest should talk to their doctor. As we heard today, bipolar depression can be successfully managed by working with a health care professional, through family support, knowing what to expect, and developing and sticking to an appropriate treatment plan."
To learn more about bipolar depression and download useful tools like a mood diary and medication tracker, visit www.FacingBipolar.com.
About Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder may affect approximately 8 million American adults.(1,2) People with bipolar disorder experience extreme mood swings from highs, called bipolar mania, to lows, called bipolar depression.(3) Bipolar disorder can significantly interfere with thoughts, activity, and physical health.(4) The depressive episodes of bipolar disorder often produce symptoms like prolonged periods of sadness, a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, and feelings of worthlessness.(3) For many patients, bipolar depression is often the predominant mood episode. This means that for people living with bipolar disorder, their bipolar depression may recur more often and last longer than their mania.(5)
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- Hirschfeld RMA, Calabrese JR, Weissman MM, et al. Screening for Bipolar in the Community. J Clinical Psychiatry. 2003; 64:53-59.
- US Bureau of the Census. http://www.census.gov/popest/national/asrh/NC-EST2005/NC-EST2005-02.xls. Accessed on October 1, 2009.
- American Psychiatric Association (APA). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision. Washington, DC: APA; 2000, pp. 382-397.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness. Understanding Bipolar Disorder and Recovery. August 2008. Available at http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=By_Illness&template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=67728. Accessed on November 4, 2009.
- Calabrese JR, Hirschfeld RMA, Frye MA, et al. Impact of Depressive Symptoms Compared with Manic Symptoms in Bipolar Disorder: Results of a U.S. Community-Based Sample. J Clinical Psychiatry. 2004;65:1499-1504.