What do Theodore Roosevelt, Patty Duke, and Sir Winston Churchill have in common besides being major figures in our world' They all suffered from bipolar disorder (NAMI New Hampshire, n.d.). This disorder, which affects 2.6 percent of the U.S. adult population, features shifts in mood that makes it difficult to carry out one's daily tasks (National Institute of Mental Health, 2008). While bipolar disorder can be debilitating, the success of these people illustrates that it doesn't have to be.

The experience of a bipolar disorder mood episode is akin to being on an emotional roller coaster. While the highs and lows of the roller coaster and the period of time between episodes vary from person to person, bipolar disorder is characterized by a high in mood that is unusual for the person followed by an atypical low in mood. When left untreated the mood episodes may become more frequent or severe and one's behavior during a mood episode may cause long-term negative consequences in any facet of life (National Institute of Mental Health, 2009).

For this reason it is important to seek treatment as it has been found that treatment is effective in reducing the incidence of mood episodes (National Institute of Mental Health, 2009). If you are worried that you or someone you care about may be suffering from bipolar disorder or another common mental health condition the Rock Island Arsenal Employee Assistance Program (EAP) would like to offer you the opportunity to take a free, anonymous screening. These screenings only take a few minutes and provide immediate feedback. They are available at: mentalhealthscreening.org/screening/ and enter keyword ASAP. You will receive immediate, customized feedback as well as the opportunity to schedule an appointment for further evaluation if necessary.

NAMI New Hampshire (n.d.) Take Action - Famous People With Mental Illness. Retrieved Feb. 4, 2010, from naminh.org/action-famous-people.php

National Institute of Mental Health (2009) Bipolar Disorder. Retrieved Feb. 4, 2010, from

National Institute of Mental Health (2008) The Numbers Count: Mental Disorders in America. Retrieved Feb. 4, 2010, from nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/the-numbers-count-mental-disorders-in-america/index.shtml#Bipolar