Who We Are
The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) is a leading national organization focusing on mood disorders including depression and bipolar disorder. Though these illnesses affect over 21 million Americans they are some of the most misunderstood and stigmatized illnesses of our time.
Our Core Values
1. Depression and bipolar disorder can be life threatening conditions. However, with the right treatment and help, we can not only live with these illnesses, but also thrive and be stronger for them.
2. All individuals have the right to direct their own treatment.
3. Peer support can be an immensely powerful tool to help a person achieve and maintain wellness.
4. Each person’s path to, and definition of, wellness is uniquely their own.
5. All individuals are equal. We strive to support and embrace differences in gender, race, culture, and class.
What is a Mood Disorder?
If you have a mood disorder, your general emotional state or mood is distorted or inconsistent with your circumstances and interferes with your ability to function. You may be extremely sad, empty, or irritable (depressed), or you may have periods of depression alternating with being excessively happy (mania).
Major Depressive Disorder
Frequently referred to simply as depression, is a serious but treatable medical condition that affects how a person feels, thinks, and acts. Though typically characterized by feelings of sadness, depression symptoms may appear as irritability or apathy. Fortunately, with early detection and diagnosis — as well as a treatment plan consisting of medication, psychotherapy, and healthy lifestyle choices — many people can and do get better.
Some will only experience one depressive episode in a lifetime, but for most, depressive disorder recurs. Without treatment, episodes may last a few months to several years.
More than 17 million U.S. adults — over 7% of the population — had at least one major depressive episode in the past year. People of all ages and all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds experience depression, but it does affect some groups more than others.
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that causes dramatic shifts in a person’s mood, energy, and ability to think clearly. People with bipolar disorder experience high and low moods, known as mania and depression, which differ from the typical ups-and-downs most people experience.
The average age of onset is 25, but it can occur in the teens, or more uncommonly, in childhood. The condition affects men and women equally, with about 2.8% of U.S. adults experiencing bipolar disorder each year.
Approximately 83% of cases of bipolar disorder are classified as "severe." If left untreated, bipolar disorder usually gets worse. However, with good treatment, often including psychotherapy, medications, a healthy lifestyle and a routine building, many people live well with the condition. (NAMI.org)
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