Bipolar disorder myths, like other mental health conditions, are often misunderstood. Indeed, when bipolar disorder is brought up in conversation, seemingly attached are a ton of misconceptions and mistaken beliefs. This leads to misunderstanding the condition, often to the detriment of people with Bipolar disorder myths themselves. It is, after all, more difficult to open up about your struggles with the condition when it is already so stigmatized.
To help address this, it is important to keep ourselves informed and educated ourselves about bipolar disorder. Here are a few myths about bipolar disorder that should be debunked.
MYTH #1: Bipolar disorder is rare.
Bipolar disorder is more common than you’d think. It affects an estimated 2 million Americans, or nearly 2.8% of the adult population. It can develop in anyone, though women are more likely to have it than men.
MYTH #2: Bipolar disorder is not real and simply an imagined condition.
Bipolar disorder is a very real mental health condition that can have very real effects on one’s quality of life. It should be treated like any other physical illness; recovery and healing from bipolar disorder need ample time and effort. People with bipolar disorder deserve to be given the right and proper support as those with physical illness do.
MYTH #3: People with bipolar disorder are unable to work.
Though there are instances when the symptoms of bipolar disorder are so severe that they hinder normal functioning, it is possible to work past it. There are medications and treatment options available that can help most people cope with the condition. And with the right support system, it is possible for people with bipolar disorder myths to hold a job and even thrive in the workplace.
MYTH #4: Bipolar disorder means constantly being ill.
Symptoms of bipolar disorder don’t manifest all the time. It is generally characterized by episodes of extreme highs and extreme lows. Between these episodes are stretches of stability. When the condition is constantly managed well, it is possible for a person with bipolar disorder myths to go for months or even years without an episode.
MYTH #5: Bipolar disorder is just a fancy way of saying mood swings.
It’s true that everyone has mood swings every now and again, but bipolar disorder is not that. Mood swings happen for a variety of reasons, such as the weather, menstrual cycle, or simply the piling up of bad things happening one thing after another. It can be caused by changes in hormone levels or can be a symptom of a physical disease.
In contrast, bipolar disorder represents drastic changes in a person’s usual self, with extreme shifts in energy and activity. Each episode may last for days or even weeks, and so when diagnosing bipolar disorder. Clinicians diagnosing bipolar disorder looks for a group of the symptoms and not cherry-pick the emotions involved. In other words, they look for an entire rainy season and not just a single rainy day.
MYTH #6: Bipolar disorder can be cured by a healthy lifestyle.
Bipolar disorder is a life-long disease, and there is no cure. However, it can be treated and managed through a combination of medications, therapies, and a healthy lifestyle. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule, eating a well-balanced diet, and avoiding stress can help keep the symptoms of bipolar disorder at bay.
Learning as much as possible about the condition as well as learning to recognize the warning signs of a mood swing can also help in managing bipolar disorder myths. It is important to communicate well with the doctors and therapists to create a more effective treatment plan that can help reduce relapses.
MYTH #7: Bipolar disorder and depression are the same.
Depressive episodes can be a symptom of bipolar disorder, but it is not the same condition. Bipolar disorder involves shifting from manic episodes (extreme highs) and depressive episodes (extreme lows).
MYTH #8: Bipolar disorder is caused by a character flaw.
Bipolar disorder myths are not the result of being a flawed individual. It is not something that someone can just simple rid of themselves. Careful, personalized treatment is necessary to effectively manage the condition, just like with other health problems. Bipolar disorder is not a personal failure nor is it a sign of being defective or any lesser of human being.
Seeking Professional Help
If you think you or a loved one may have bipolar disorder, it is important to seek professional health. Consult with a psychiatrist for a full evaluation. Left undiagnosed and untreated, bipolar disorder can lead to a host of problems that may hinder the person from living a normal, healthy life.
Bipolar disorder is a treatable condition, and like anyone else, those with it deserve a chance to lead a full, satisfying, and productive life. Erasing the stigma that surrounds mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder is the first step to making our society kinder and better.