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Celebrities help bipolar diagnosis

Researchers have claimed that increasing numbers of people are diagnosing themselves with bipolar disorder due to well-known sufferers speaking out about the condition.

Formerly known as manic depression, bipolar disorder leads to the sufferer experiencing extreme mood swings.

Two psychiatrists from London, Dr Diana Chan and Dr Lester Sireling, believe high-profile celebrities who suffer from the illness have helped raise awareness about it.

In their research, published in The Psychiatrist, they point to people such as Stephen Fry, who have publicly talked about their personal experience of the illness. They believe this is linked to the rise in self-diagnosis.

The psychiatrists said: "We have noticed in our clinical practice a new and unusual phenomenon, where patients present to psychiatrists with self-diagnosed bipolar disorder.

"Recently, we have noticed numerous GP referrals to our service where the primary request has been for a psychiatric opinion on whether the patient may have bipolar disorder, as suggested by the patient's own self-diagnosis.

"Also common, but less so in our experience, is the patient who attends reluctantly at the instigation of family members who are convinced they have finally made the diagnosis that can explain the awkward or embarrassing behaviour of their relative."

Around one in every 100 adults has bipolar disorder at a given time, but more recent studies suggest the true rate may be as high as 11 in every 100.

NHS : Bipolar Disorder

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"So pleased to hear of any increased awareness of this condition as we lost our elder daughter to suicide 1 year ago, aged 39yrs, in retrospect I feel she may have had this condition for most of her life" - Marion Cameron, West Central Scotland