Key Findings from Surveyed Individuals

The Harris Poll:

Bipolar I Disorder


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Sponsored by Alkermes

Data were collected between August 3 and August 21, 2021.

Alkermes, in collaboration with the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), sponsored a survey of 305 US adults living with bipolar I disorder (BD-I) to learn how the disorder and the treatment experience can impact everyday life.

"Living with and managing bipolar I disorder (BD-I) can be a profoundly challenging experience, but it is important to remember that people with this condition can still lead stable, enjoyable, and fulfilling lives."

Michael Pollock

Chief Executive Officer of DBSA

"The perspectives shared through this survey by people living with bipolar I disorder (BD-I) underscore the need for effective medications and the importance of considering the unique needs and experiences of individuals living with this disease — whether physical, mental, or social — as people work with their healthcare providers to evaluate treatment options."

Michael Pollock

Chief Executive Officer of DBSA

Approximately eight in ten individuals with BD-I (81%) said they felt that no one understands what they’re going through.

Living With BD-I Can Be an Isolating Experience


said living with BD-I made them feel isolated and alone.

Many reported being less productive and some revealed they have tried to hide their condition, quit or seriously considered quitting because of it.

Respondents Who Had Been Employed or in School Said Living With BD-I Has Impacted Their Experience




said they felt they were less productive at work or at school.

had tried to hide their condition from colleagues or classmates.

quit or seriously thought about quitting their jobs because of their condition.

Of those who were employed or in school:

Most respondents (87%) said that BD-I has negatively impacted their lives, and that it takes up a lot of their mental (91%) and physical (83%) energy.

But most (85%) also acknowledged that they have made a lot of progress in learning to manage their disorder and have accepted that it will always be part of their lives (91%).

Almost all respondents living with BD-I (97%) were worried about something when it came to their BD-I, most commonly sleep quality (28%), motivation to do things they enjoy (28%), and the frequency of depressive symptoms or episodes (27%).

People living with BD-I ranked their concerns when it comes to managing their condition:

On average, individuals tried seven BD-I medications, with more than half of respondents (54%) having tried more than five.

People Living With BD-I Have Tried Multiple Medications


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27% of individuals with BD-I who were surveyed said they don’t always take their medication as prescribed.

Challenges With Taking BD-I Medications as Prescribed

The top three reasons people living with BD-I reported for not adhering to their medications were that they simply forget (71%), side effects (30%), and the way medication(s) interfere with daily activities (24%).

The most common side effects included:

• Weight gain (56%)

• Anxiety (56%)

• Drowsiness & Sleepiness (53%)

from prescribed medication.

On average, respondents living with BD-I reported experiencing

six side effects

The vast majority of respondents (93%) said they experienced medication side effects, and of those respondents, 95% said that those side effects have had a negative impact on some aspect of their life.

The Lives of Those Living With BD-I are Negatively Impacted by Medication Side Effects

The majority of individuals living with BD-I (80%) said they wish there were medication options that relieved bipolar I disorder, but had fewer side effects.

The majority of respondents (86%) revealed they wish there were more medications to effectively treat all of their symptoms.

78% of those surveyed said it had taken them a long time to feel like their medication regimen worked for them.

While it takes time, most individuals with BD-I reported that they do feel well-managed on their current medication

Some even shared that they feel their condition has positive outcomes, with nearly half (44%) of respondents stating that bipolar disorder has helped them to be more creative.

Despite Negative Impacts, Many Said They Have Made Progress and Accepted Their Condition

Collectively, this research reinforces the importance of understanding the unique challenges people living with BD-I face and sheds light on the fact that there continues to be a need for effective treatment options with fewer side effects.