Bipolar Disorder: Facts vs. Myths
The general stigma surrounding mental illness, and in particular bipolar disorder, has created a balloon of misinformation that has only increased people’s fear of seeking treatment. So what we are left with is convoluted beliefs regarding mental illness in general.
In turn, many myths have been created around bipolar disorder and the facts have been twisted or swept under the rug.
So let’s talk about some of the facts and myths associated with bipolar disorder, according to the National Alliance of Mental Illness.
Myth: People with bipolar disorder are just moody.
Fact: The extreme highs and lows of bipolar disorder are vastly different from mood swings.
Myth: Bipolar disorder is mostly mania.
Fact: Bipolar disorder features a wide range of disturbances, including mania, hypomania, and depression.
Myth: Mania is always fun and exciting.
Fact: When someone is manic, they may feel good and have lots of energy. However, mania can also be an unpleasant experience, marked by irritability, restlessness, impulsivity, and loss of self control.
Myth: People can stop taking their medication once their bipolar disorder is under control.
Fact: People with bipolar disorder take medications that also act preventively to help stave off future manic or depressive episodes
Myth: Bipolar disorder is super rare.
Fact: Bipolar disorder is more common than one may think. Approximately 7 million U.S. adults have experienced bipolar disorder in the past year.
Myth: The highs and lows happen in regular cycles.
Fact: Bipolar disorder can be unpredictable. Some people may feel manic and depressed at the same time and not on any certain schedule.
Myth: There is a test that can be done to diagnose someone with bipolar disorder.
Fact: There is no single test that shows for sure one might have bipolar disorder. One would have to see a doctor and a psychiatrist regularly, combined with lab work and said person’s medical history.
Myth: There’s no way to treat bipolar disorder.
Fact: Although there is no cure for bipolar disorder, it can be treated and managed with medication and psychotherapy.
Myth: Stress isn’t a factor.
Fact: Stress is one of the biggest triggers for a bipolar episode or symptoms.
If you have bipolar disorder, it’s important to know the effects of the disorder. Separate facts from fantasy regarding an illness that is already shrouded in so much myth and mystery.
The general stigma surrounding mental illness, and in particular bipolar disorder, has created a balloon of misinformation that has only increased people’s fear of seeking treatment.