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Adult Bipolar Disorder

Missing Adult with Bipolar

Statistics taken directly from Grampian Stats report 2007.

Summary of likely places found/ time to being found and distance from last being seen. Followed by characteristics and further information on Bipolar.

Missing on foot. Time taken to locate missing persons missing. Cumulative percentage of cases.

  • 25%         2hr 00 mins
  • 50%         8 hrs 30 mins
  • 60%         12 hrs 00 mins
  • 70%         16 hrs 10 mins
  • 80%         22 hrs 45 mins
  • 90%         60 hrs 00 mins
  • 99%         71 hrs 00 mins

 Missing on Foot. How far do those that travel by foot go? Cumulative percentage of cases.

  • 40%         1.40 km
  • 50%         1.80 km
  • 60%         2.70 km
  • 70%         3.60 km
  • 80%         4.60 km
  • 90%         6.00 km
  • 95%         10.00 km

 Where are the likely places these people will be located ?

  • 29% - Returned to their place of residence, or place missing from of their own accord.
  • 14% - Went to their home address
  • 14% - Were found walking in the street –(urban environment) 

Others were located in smaller numbers at the following locations: 

  • Boyfriend/girlfriends address Public park
  • Relative’s address
  • Friends address 
  • Local ‘take-away’ 

Missing on public transport. Time taken to locate missing persons. Cumulative percentage of cases.

  • 25%         4 hr 15 mins
  • 50%         15 hrs 45 mins
  • 60%         16 hrs 10 mins
  • 70%         18 hrs 20 mins
  • 80%         23 hrs 00 mins
  • 90%         23 hrs 40 mins
  • 99%         24 hrs 45 mins

Missing using public transport. Distance between last seen and found. Cumulative percentage of cases.

  • 40%         33.00 km
  • 50%         40.00 km
  • 60%         58.00 km
  • 70%         100.00 km
  • 80%         170.00 km
  • 90%         320.00 km
  • 95%         400.00 km

Likely places missing persons will be located:

  • 33%         Went to relatives address
  • 17%         Went to their home address

 Other locations located in smaller numbers:

  • Friends address
  • Booked into accommodation
  • In the street (urban)


Important information in search:

When dealing with a missing person suffering from Bipolar disorder, it is critical to establish whether they were in a ‘manic’ phase or a ‘depressed’ phase at the time they went missing. 

If they are in a manic phase, they are less likely to cause themselves any harm, indeed if they are in the hypomania stage, they may simply be off having a good time, it would be well worth bearing in mind the possibility they have found themselves a new partner and are booked into a hotel, or other accommodation somewhere! 

If however they are in the depressed phase of the condition, they should be treated as a depressed missing person, with the possibility that they may be considering suicide. 

  • 56% - Chose to travel on foot 
  • 24% - Chose public transport 
  • 8% - Chose a motor vehicle 


Hypomania / Mania (manic depression)

Hypomania and Mania are both terms used to describe the condition of Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar Disorder is the clinical term used to describe the condition of Manic Depression. 


Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder.

Bipolar disorder causes people to have dramatic mood swings, going from overlay “high” and/or irritable to sad and hopeless, and then back again, often with periods of normal mood in between. Severe changes in energy and behaviour go along with these changes in mood. The periods of highs and lows are called episodes of mania and depression. 

It may be helpful to think of the various mood states in bipolar disorder as a spectrum or continuous range. At one end is severe depression, above which is moderate depression and then mild low mood. Then there is normal or balanced mood, above which comes hypomania (mild to moderate mania), and then severe mania. 


Hence the term ‘Manic Depressive’. 


The following three paragraphs are descriptions offered by people with bipolar disorder, they provide a valuable insight into the various mood states associated with the illness: 

Depression: I doubt completely my ability to do anything well. It seems as though my mind has slowed down and burned outto the point of being virtually useless.... I am haunted... with the total, the desperate hopelessness of it all.... Others say, “It’s only temporary, it will pass, you will get over it,” but of course they haven’t any idea of how I feel, although they are certain they do. If I can’t feel, move, think or care, then what on earth is the point? 

Hypomania: At first when I’m high, it’s tremendous... ideas are fast... like shooting stars you follow until brighter ones appear.... All shyness disappears, the right words and gestures are suddenly there... uninteresting people, things become intensely interesting. Sensuality is pervasive, the desire to seduce and be seduced is irresistible. Your marrow is infused with unbelievable feelings of ease, power, well-being, omnipotence, euphoria... you can do anything... but, somewhere this changes. 

Mania: The fast ideas become too fast and there are far too many... overwhelming confusion replaces clarity... you stop keeping up with it - memory goes. Infectious humour ceases to amuse. Your friends become frightened.... everything is now against the grain... you are irritable, angry, frightened, uncontrollable, and trapped 


Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of mania (or a manic episode) include: 

  • Increased energy, activity, and restlessness
  • Excessively “high,” overlay good, euphoric mood Extreme irritability
  • Racing thoughts and talking very fast, jumping from one idea to another
  • Distractibility, can’t concentrate well
  • Little sleep needed
  • Unrealistic beliefs in one’s abilities and powers
  • Poor judgment spending sprees
  • A lasting period of behaviour that is different from usual Increased sexual drive
  • Abuse of drugs, particularly cocaine, alcohol, and sleeping medications
  • Provocative, intrusive, or aggressive behaviour
  • Denial that anything is wrong 

Signs and symptoms of depression (or a depressive episode) include: 

  • Lasting sad, anxious, or empty mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed, including sex
  • Decreased energy, a feeling of fatigue or of being “slowed down”
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions Restlessness or irritability Sleeping too much,
  • or can’t sleep Change in appetite and/or unintended weight loss or gain
  • Chronic pain or other persistent bodily symptoms that are not caused by physical illness or injury
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts 


Likelihood of Suicide

Some people with bipolar disorder become suicidal. Anyone who talks about suicide should be taken seriously. Signs and symptoms which may accompany suicidal feelings include: 

  • Talking about feeling suicidal or wanting to die
  • Feeling hopeless, that nothing will ever change or get better Feeling helpless, that nothing one does makes any difference
  • Feeling like a burden to family and friends
  • Abusing alcohol or drugs
  • Putting affairs in order (e.g., organizing finances or giving away possessions to prepare for one’s death)
  • Writing a suicide note
  • Putting oneself in harm’s way, or in situations where there is adanger of being killed 


Sometimes, severe episodes of mania or depression include symptoms of psychosis. People with bipolar disorder who have these symptoms are sometimes incorrectly diagnosed as having schizophrenia, another severe mental illness.