Bipolar disorder is common. It affects about 1% of the population. Men and women are equally affected.
While the disorder has been seen in children, the usual age of onset is late adolescence and early adulthood. Mania occasionally appears for the first time in the elderly, and when it does, it is often related to another medical disorder.
Bipolar disorder is not restricted to any social or educational class, race, or nationality. Although an equal number of men and women develop the illness, men tend to have more manic episodes while women experience more depressive episodes.
Many people with bipolar disorder are very well known. Some have won Academy Awards; others have created literary and fine-art masterpieces, or led their nations in critical times of history.
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