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Right diagnosis at right time is key to treating ‘bipolar disorders’: UAE and international psychiatrists

May 17, 2014 3:56 pm

Doctors from UAE and abroad, during the ‘Gulf Experts Panel Meeting’ in Dubai unanimously agreed that the right diagnosis at the right time is important to treat bipolar patients. The event was organized by Lundbeck, a global pharmaceutical company that treats people living with brain diseases and central nervous system disorders. The estimated total U.S. economic burden of bipolar disorder between 1991-2009 was $151 billion1. This condition is the sixth leading cause of disability worldwide.

“This is a universal disorder and this becomes prominent from the age of 20 to 30 years, however, it can start from the age of 10 upto 50. Earlier it was believed that only 1% of the world population was affected by this condition but actually it is around 2.5 – 3.5 % today. Bipolar disorder has a high rate of recurrence if left untreated therefore the right diagnosis is important for early control of the condition. Patients with severe disorders usually require timely treatment and hospitalization to manage this condition,” said Dr.Tarek Abdulla Darwish, Consultant Psychiatrist, Medical Director, Behavioral Sciences Pavilion, Sheikh Khalifa Medical City.

“We wanted to bring all the psychiatrists under one roof and understand the burdens caused by bipolar disorders. We had a good session and several experiences were exchanged during the meeting. It is difficult to pin-point the exact causes of bipolar disorders. What is known is that bipolar disorder is genetic. Our company has conducted extensive studies internationally with regard to this disorder involving 700 participants aged 18-65 who had been diagnosed with bipolar I disorder for 12 months or more. Today the awareness levels are high as opposed to 20 years ago and there are better ways to manage this disorder in today’s world,” said Mr. Emad Wageeh, Sales and Marketing Manager – Lundbeck Gulf.

People with bipolar disorder are part of a medically-burdened population that often experiences multiple complications. It is estimated that approximately two thirds of patients will suffer a mixed episode at some point in their illness2.

“Obesity and the sedentary lifestyle in the Gulf region could also a burden with regard to bipolar patients. This is a concern in many developed nations as well. As far as genetics is concerned, studies have explored the genetic connection of bipolar disorder found that children with one biological parent with bipolar I or bipolar II disorder have an increased likelihood of getting bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder often runs in families, and there is a genetic part to this mood disorder. Most people with bipolar I disorder also suffer from episodes of depression. There is also growing evidence that environment and lifestyle issues have an effect on the disorder’s severity. Stressful life events or alcohol or drug abuse can make this disorder more difficult to treat,” said Dr. Roger S. McIntyre, MD, FRCPC from Canada while in Dubai.

“When I came to UAE in 1984 there were very few psychiatrists but today there are over 150 in the UAE. Today life stress, social stress also triggers mood disorders. Awareness levels have increased and people know the value of psychiatrists, however, there is still a stigma attached while meeting a psychiatrist. People are more worried about what the society will think about the patient while they take the patient to a phychiatrist. There are thousands of cases where people with bipolar disorders don’t get the timely treatment because they are not diagnosed at the first place. Practitioners should screen for metabolic disorders in all mood disorder patients,” said Dr.Talaat Matar, Consultant & Head of Psychiatry Department, Saif Bin Ghubash Hospital & Ibrahim Bin Hamad Obaid Allah Hospital, Ras Al Khaimah.

“Doctors from UAE Ministry of Health, Dubai Health Authority, Health Authority – Abu Dhabi, Ministry of Health from Kuwait, Hamad Medical Corporation from Qatar and Ministry of Health Bahrain attended this meeting organized by Lundbeck. We wanted to bring together doctors from this field to understand their viewpoint with a specific focus on the GCC region,” concluded Mr. Emad Wageeh, Sales and Marketing Manager – Lundbeck Gulf.

Lundbeck is engaged in the research, development, production, marketing and sale of pharmaceuticals across the world. The company’s products are targeted at diseases such as depression and anxiety, psychotic disorders, epilepsy and Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Media contact:

Prem A. Ramachandran
Managing Director
White Water Public Relations
PO. Box 18936, Dubai, UAE