“It could be genetics; it could be environment. It also could be the way individuals in different cultures are willing to respond to this kind of an inquiry,” said Sara Bodner, M.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, concerning the U.S. rates. “Cultural awareness plays a very big role in psychiatry. Some cultures have a huge reluctance to speak about psychiatric things.”
Poor countries may suffer from social stigma that prevents them from talking about bipolar disorder, but they also tend to have more traditional support systems, like large families, intact.
The countries included in the study were the U.S., Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Bulgaria, Romania, China, India, Japan, Lebanon, and New Zealand.
Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness responsible for dramatic changes in mood, ranging from mania to depression. Three-quarters of people with bipolar disorder in the study had other mental issues like anxiety disorders and panic attacks.