World Federation for Mental Health

Global Survey Reveals Personal Impact of Bipolar Disorder

    Vienna, Austria (ots/PRNewswire) -

    - World Federation for Mental Health urges better understanding, treatment and management to improve outcomes for people living with bipolar  disorder

    The World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) today announced results of  a global bipolar disorder consumer survey, Thinking Ahead, at the World  Congress of Biological Psychiatry. The survey revealed that almost half (47%)  of all people with bipolar disorder - or 'consumers' as many mental health  patients prefer to be referred to as - feel that their disease has had a  highly negative impact on their quality of life. Further to this, more than a  third (35%) of respondents stated they have been discriminated against as a result of their condition, usually within the context of everyday social  relationships.

    "Many people who successfully treat and manage their bipolar disorder are highly functioning individuals who sustain jobs, relationships, and lead full lives", commented Preston Garrison, Chief Executive Officer of the WFMH. "Unfortunately, however, there is a critical need to improve awareness and remove the social stigma associated with this growing condition so that others, who do not feel comfortable seeking medical support, can obtain appropriate treatment and, as a result, dramatically improve their quality of life."

    The WFMH partnered with AstraZeneca to implement this survey of 687 bipolar disorder consumers across seven countries (Canada, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, United States). The findings from the Thinking Ahead survey add a compelling consumer voice to the WFMH mission and AstraZeneca's commitment to reducing damaging stigma associated with mental disorders and improving outcomes for people living with mental disorders and their families.

VIENNA, Austria, June 29 /PRNewswire/ --

@@start.t1@@      The survey also revealed:
      - 26% of respondents NEVER tell people they have bipolar disorder. Fear
         of social stigma is a key reason why people do not share this
         information with others.
      - The vast majority (79%) of respondents in all countries say successful
         treatment would lead to significant quality of life changes in terms of
         increased functionality/improved lifestyle such as, maintaining a job,
         having relationships, living independently, and achieving goals.
      - 71% of people with bipolar disorder who were surveyed believe that the
         public does not understand their illness. This ignorance may be causing
         the stigma that many feel.@@end@@

    Eduard Vieta, Director of the Bipolar Disorders Program of the Hospital Clinic at the University of Barcelona, Spain, commented, "The results of this survey reflect my everyday practice in psychiatry: consumers want and need treatments that will successfully manage and treat their condition and allow everyday functioning. The development in recent years of drugs which have reduced side effects whilst remaining highly effective are a key factor in enabling people with bipolar disorder to maintain a good quality of life."

    Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a severe biological disorder that affects approximately 3 - 4% of the adult population.(1),(2),(3),(4) As more consumers are being accurately diagnosed  this figure will increase.(5) It is a chronic disease and approximately 90%  of people with bipolar disorder will have multiple recurrences over the  longer term with an average of nine episodes per lifetime.(6)

    Michael Grinter, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1996 and currently works with MDF The BiPolar Organisation, comments "Without the right treatment, management and support for bipolar disorder, the condition means that you will be unable to live a normal life. After several years of battling with the condition, I am now able to successfully treat and manage it - I play an active role in the mental health field and enjoy each day as it comes. The damaging stigma that many people associate with my condition only serves to create a climate of fear that lessens acceptance by local communities".

VIENNA, Austria, June 29 /PRNewswire/ --

@@start.t2@@      References:
      (1) American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual
            of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision. Washington DC,
            American Psychiatric Association, 2000:385;395
      (2) Hirschfield et al. J Clin Psychiatry. 2003:64;53-59
      (3) Lish JD, Dime-Meenan S, Whybrow PC et al. J Affect Disord.
      (4) World Health Organization and the World Bank. The Global Burden of
            Disease: Summary. Cambridge, Mass: The Harvard School of Public
            Health Harvard University Press, 1996
      (5) Sachs GS, Printz DJ, Kahn DA et al. The expert consensus guideline
            series: medication treatment of bipolar disorder 2000. Postgrad Med
            Special Report. 2000:April;1-104
      (6) Goodwin FK. J Clin Psychiatry. 2002:63;(Suppl 10):5-12@@end@@

    Notes to Editors:

    About Thinking Ahead

    The Thinking Ahead survey interviewed people living with bipolar disorder to better understand how their disease impacts their lives and that of their families, and how treatment can help ensure their disease has as limited impact as possible on their quality of life. The Thinking Ahead theme was chosen to highlight the need for long term strategies to treat and manage bipolar disorder to ensure that consumers achieve full quality of life benefits, as opposed to short term fixes that only add to the stigma and mismanagement of mental illness.

    The survey was developed by AstraZeneca and the World Federation for Mental Health, overseen by an independent panel of bipolar disorder physicians and advocacy group representatives, and conducted by Research International, an independent marketing research firm. 687 people with bipolar disorder were interviewed via the internet and face-to-face, across seven countries: U.S (203 consumers), Canada (99 consumers), U.K. (100 consumers), Germany (102 consumers), Spain (75 consumers), Italy (100 consumers) and qualitative in Greece (8 consumers). AstraZeneca was the financial sponsor of the survey.

    About the World Federation for Mental Health

    The WFMH was founded in 1948 to advance, among all peoples and nations, the prevention of mental and emotional disorders, the proper treatment and care of those with such disorders, and the promotion of mental health.

    The Federation, with members and contacts in 112 countries on six continents, has responded to the international mental health crisis through its role as the only worldwide grassroots advocacy and public education organization in the mental health field. The Federation's organizational and individual membership includes mental health workers of all disciplines, consumers/users of mental health services, family members and concerned citizens. The Organization's broad and diverse membership makes possible collaboration among governments and non-governmental organizations.

    Through its history, the Federation has been active in advancing the concerns of people with mental illnesses before international forums, both private and governmental, and in supporting the efforts of its member organizations at the national and regional level.

    The Federation is accredited as a consultant to the United Nations and its specialized agencies, working closely with the World Health Organization, UNESCO, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the UN Commission on Human Rights, the International Labour Organization and others.

    For more information regarding the WFMH international activities, including World Mental Health Day (October 10), visit

    About AstraZeneca

    AstraZeneca is a major international healthcare business engaged in the research, development, manufacture and marketing of prescription pharmaceuticals and the supply of healthcare services. It is one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies with healthcare sales of over $21.4 billion and leading positions in sales of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, respiratory, oncology and neuroscience products. AstraZeneca is listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (Global) as well as the FTSE4Good Index.

    In Neuroscience, AstraZeneca is dedicated to providing medicines that have the potential to change patients' lives. The company already markets several products including SEROQUEL and ZOMIG. SEROQUEL, which has proven efficacy and a favourable side effect profile, is the fastest growing of the leading atypical antipsychotics and the number one prescribed atypical in the United States with global sales of $2 billion in 2004; ZOMIG is a reliable migraine therapy and a leader within the triptan market. The Neuroscience pipeline includes leading approaches for the treatment of depression and anxiety, overactive bladder, dementia, stroke, pain control and anaesthesia.

    World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry

    The World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry is a non-profit world wide organization composed of 60 National Societies of Biological Psychiatry, as well as individual members, and has built in this way a network of 7500 psychiatry professionals from 102 countries all over the globe. The aim of the Federation is to promote, in all countries, education and the attainment of the highest level of knowledge and understanding in the field of Biological Psychiatry.

ots Originaltext: World Federation for Mental Health
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For more information or interviews please contact: Preston J.
Garrison, World Federation for Mental Health, Mobile:
+1-571-247-5491; Sarah Fraser, Shire Health International, Mobile:

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