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November 22, 2005

Global Survey on Bipolar - Emphasizes Treatment

Global Survey Released on the World Mental Health Day 2005 Emphasizes Treatment Needs in Bipolar Disorder

Most people with bipolar disorder believe that successful treatment would significantly improve their quality of life and that treatment satisfaction is achieved by efficacy and tolerability, according to final results from the large scale Thinking Ahead survey(1). The survey conducted in eight countries revealed that bipolar disorder had a major negative impact on sufferers' lives and that of their family and friends. The final survey data were announced today to commemorate the 13th World Mental Health Day (WMHD) and to raise public awareness of the impact of this under-diagnosed condition.

Each year the WMHD is drawing attention to the often neglected issues of mental health. This year the campaign is dedicated to emphasize the link between mental and physical health across the life span. The Thinking Ahead global survey is highly relevant to illustrate this topic as bipolar disorder can be a serious condition that frequently begins in late adolescence or early adulthood and lasts the entire life.

The main findings of this survey among 737 people with bipolar disorder from Australia, Canada, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, the UK and the US show:

- Almost half (48%) of respondents feel that bipolar disorder had a highly negative impact on their lives. More people in Australia (65%) than UK (37%) and US (45%) felt this negative impact.

- Many respondents (35%) believe that the lives of their family and friends are also negatively impacted by their condition.

- The majority (80%) of all respondents say successful treatment would lead to significant improvement in their quality of life (increased functionality/improved lifestyle: achieving goals, maintaining a job, having relationships, living independently).

- The most important factors influencing satisfaction with treatment are efficacy (88%) and manageable side effects (77%).

- 72% of respondents believe the public does not understand their condition, possibly leading to the stigma associated with bipolar disorder.

"The public has to understand more about mental disorders such as bipolar disorder. People with bipolar disorder deserve the best possible treatment allowing them to enjoy life to the fullest," said Dr Jamie Mullen, MD, Senior Director Clinical Research, AstraZeneca.

It has been estimated that bipolar disorder affects between 0.3 percent and 3.7 percent of people(2-5). Up to half of the people with bipolar disorder may undertake at least one suicide attempt(6).

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