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Public Awareness, Beliefs, And Attitudes Toward Bipolar Disorder In Saudi Arabia

Authors Alosaimi FD, AlAteeq DA, Bin Hussain SI, Alhenaki RS, Bin Salamah AA, AlModihesh NA

Received 17 March 2019

Accepted for publication 16 September 2019

Published 27 September 2019 Volume 2019:15 Pages 2809—2818


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder

Fahad D Alosaimi,1 Deemah A AlAteeq,2 Sarah I Bin Hussain,3 Riham S Alhenaki,4 Abdullah A Bin Salamah,5 Noor Adnan AlModihesh1

1Department of Psychiatry, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 2College of Medicine, Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 3Department of Family Medicine and Polyclinics, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 4Department of Pediatrics, King Abdullah Specialized Children’s Hospital, KAMC, MNGHA, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 5Department of Family and Community Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence: Deemah A AlAteeq
College of Medicine, Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University, P.O. Box 93949, Riyadh 11683, Saudi Arabia
Email [email protected]

Objectives: To examine public’s knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes toward bipolar disorder (BP) in Saudi Arabia (SA).
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was performed in 2016 in Riyadh, SA. The survey included sociodemographic characteristics and BP awareness scale.
Results: Of 416 participants, 49.5% had prior knowledge of BP, mainly from internet and social media, and 57% considered it to be common in SA. About half believed BP is caused by a neurophysiological or neurochemical imbalance and that it can be treated with psychiatric medications. Supernatural causes, weak faith, and weakness of character were considered causes of BP by 55%, 48%, and 40% of participants, respectively. Recreational activities and head bandaging by traditional therapists were considered viable treatment options by 55% and 41% of participants, respectively. Students and healthcare professionals scored significantly higher on awareness scale. Regarding attitude, a majority believed that persons with BP can work effectively ‎(86%)‎, have to pull themselves together to get over it (47%), and consider it a shame to mention that someone in a family is affected by BP (32%). Regarding relationships, 22% were not willing to maintain a friendship and 39.3% were not willing to marry someone with BP.
Conclusions: This study revealed suboptimal public awareness towards BP in SA. It identified several misconceptions and negative attitudes toward patients with BP. Further studies are needed to investigate potential public interventions to improve literacy of BP.

Keywords: bipolar disorder, awareness, literacy, attitudes, Saudi

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