New Delhi: More than 40 per cent of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder were free of symptoms and about a quarter achieved complete mental health, a Canadian study has found. Having a trusted confidant was the most influential factor in achieving complete mental health, according to co-author Ishnaa Gulati, a Master of Public Health graduate from the University of Toronto.

“The adoption of spirituality as a coping mechanism and the absence of chronic pain were also identified as strong predictors for psychological flourishing,” Gulati said.

Bipolar disorder is marked by extreme mood and energy swings, and can sometimes be accompanied by hallucinations and delusions.

However, despite these encouraging results, the researchers said that people with a history of the mental condition were less likely to be flourishing compared to their peers.

These findings are published in the Journal of Affective Disorders Reports.

“Even after accounting for various sociodemographic and health factors, individuals with a history of bipolar disorder still face significant challenges in achieving complete mental health compared to those without such a diagnosis,” said author Melanie J. Katz, a researcher at the University of Toronto.

For the study, published in the Journal of Affective Disorders Reports, the researchers compared 555 Canadians with a history of bipolar disorder to 20,530 respondents without such a history.

To be considered to have achieved complete mental health, the participants were required to be free from any illness in the past year, including bipolar disorder, depression and substance use disorders or contemplating suicide, according to the researchers.

The participants also had to report almost daily social and psychological well-being and happiness or life satisfaction. Data was taken from the Canadian Community Health Survey-Mental Health.

The researchers found that supportive environments, strong social connections and coping mechanisms, along with resolving physical health problems such as chronic pain, could empower people with bipolar disorder towards recovery and resilience more effectively.

The authors also found that many of those achieving complete mental health were married, older, and had no history of drug or alcohol abuse.

The study highlighted the complex nature of recovery in people having bipolar disorder and offered actionable insights for clinicians and mental health professionals, they said.

“We hope that those with the disorder and their loved ones and health professionals will be heartened to learn that that one-quarter of the respondents who previously had bipolar disorder were now thriving and happy or satisfied with their life almost every day,” said corresponding author Esme Fuller-Thomson, a professor at the University of Toronto.

“Addressing the multifaceted needs of individuals living with bipolar disorder requires a comprehensive approach involving social support, effective coping strategies, and access to appropriate resources and services,” said Katz.

  • Published On Jun 17, 2024 at 04:14 PM IST

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