Bipolar Bear is the story of a moody polar bear ... and explorations into bipolar disorder, which used to be known as manic depression. Bipolar disorder is surprisingly common, effecting about one in every 40 Americans.
Bipolar disorder is also increasingly common, alarmingly so for children. Researchers At Columbia University, among others, studied statistics in two time periods - 1994-1995, and 2002-2003. During this difference of only eight years, diagnoses in children increased by a factor of 40! Yes that's right, 40 times as many children were diagnosed only 8 years later compared to the baseline. Among adults, diagnoses doubled.
What this tells us is that environmental factors contribute to bipolar disorder - in other words, something around them changed. What was it? Well, it could be nutrition. It could be societal factors. It also could be technological factors - which seems quite likely. Between the '94-95 time frame and the '02-03 time frame, th internet exploded into being as a part of everyday life.
Is the internet to blame for the extraordinary spike in bipolar disorder?
It's hard to say. This is one of the topics we'll be exploring. Check back soon and thanks for visiting!