Patients With Bipolar I Disorder Share Perspectives in New Survey


Patients weigh in on their experiences living with and receiving treatment for the disorder.

Fresh Idea/Adobe Stock

Fresh Idea/Adobe Stock

A survey of individuals living with bipolar I disorder revealed these individuals’ perspectives on medication and treatment of the disorder.

The survey polled 305 US individuals aged 18 to 60 living with bipolar I disorder1 about their experiences living with and receiving treatment for the disorder. Among the participants, the average age of diagnosis was 28 years, and the average length of time participants had been living with the disorder was about 16 years.2

In terms of everyday impact, 81% of participants reported feeling like no one understands what they go through in living with bipolar I. Top concerns participants reported about managing the disorder included motivation/energy to do things they enjoy (28%), quality of sleep (28%), and frequency of depressive episodes or symptoms (27%). Among those who have attended school or been employed, 77% said living with the disorder makes them feel alone or isolated; 51% said the disorder makes them less productive at school and/or work; and 47% have tried to hide their condition from classmates or colleagues.1

Participants were also asked about their experiences with receiving treatment for bipolar I, with 70% reporting that finding a medication that works for them has been difficult, and 54% and 17% reporting that they have tried more than 5 or more than 10 medications, respectively. Ninety-three percent of participants said they had experienced side effects from medication. The most commonly reported side effects included anxiety (56%), weight gain (56%), and sleepiness/drowsiness (53%). Of the participants who reported having experienced side effects, 95% said that the side effects had a negative impact on their daily lives, including loss of motivation to do things they enjoy (41%), reduced sleep quality (34%), and reduced sexual function/loss of desire (22%). Overall, 80% of participants said they wished they had treatment options that would relieve their symptoms of bipolar I with fewer side effects. However, 75% reported that they felt well-managed on their current medication regimen.1

“Living with and managing bipolar I disorder can be a profoundly challenging experience, but it is important to remember that people with this condition can lead stable, enjoyable, and fulfilling lives,” said Michael Pollock, chief executive officer of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), in a press release. “The perspectives shared through this survey by people living with bipolar I disorder underscore the need for effective medications and the importance of considering the unique needs and experiences of individuals living with this disease—whether physical, mental, or social—as people work with their health care providers to evaluate treatment options.”

The survey was conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Alkermes Inc. in collaboration with the DBSA.


1. Living with bipolar I disorder: individuals living with bipolar I disorder (BD-I) shared perspectives on treatment and medication. Infographic. The Harris Poll. Accessed January 6, 2022.

2. New national survey of people living with bipolar I disorder provides into disease-related challenges and the treatment journey. News Release. CISION PR Newswire. January 6, 2022. Accessed January 6, 2022.

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