Myths and Facts About Bipolar Disorder

Nov 08, 2022

Myths and Facts About Bipolar Disorder

Learning that you or someone you love has bipolar disorder can feel frightening and overwhelming. But learning to separate the facts from the fiction can help demystify a diagnosis and ensure you get the care you need.

There are a lot of misconceptions about mental health disorders, especially with complex conditions like bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, these myths often do more harm than good, keeping people from getting help for very common and treatable diseases.

Our team at Associates in Behavioral Science strives to help people better understand emotional and mental health, so they can always feel comfortable getting treatment when they need it. This is important with every mental health disorder. However, it’s vital for those that worsen without treatment, like bipolar disorder, and that put your life at risk.

Here are a few common myths about bipolar disorder — and the facts that everyone should know instead.

MYTH: Bipolar disorder is really rare

Contrary to popular belief, bipolar disorder is far more common than most people realize. 

An estimated 2.8% of American adults had bipolar disorder in the past year, and 4.4% will experience it at some point during their lifetime. And, while bipolar disorder typically occurs around age 25, younger people can also have the condition. In fact, an estimated 2.9% of adolescents between 13 and 18 have bipolar disorder, and 2.6% have severe impairment.

MYTH: Bipolar disorder only affects certain people

Guess what? Over 10 million Americans live with bipolar disorder, and they come from all genders and walks of life — and it affects them all equally. 

Bipolar disorder occurs in all races, ethnic groups, and socioeconomic classes. It also appears equally in men and women. However, that doesn’t mean that it looks the same in everyone. 

There are seven different types of this disorder with varying symptoms, for example:

  • Bipolar 1: includes at least one manic episode
  • Bipolar 2: features at least one hypomanic (less severe) episode
  • Cyclothymic disorder: rapid cycles of hypomania and depression

Because bipolar disorder can vary so significantly from person to person, it’s often confused with other conditions, like major depressive disorder. 

MYTH: Bipolar disorder means you’re a moody maniac

It’s true that bipolar disorder comes with emotional highs and lows. However, these peaks and valleys are far different from being in a “mood” or having “mood swings.” And, unlike the average mood swing, bipolar disorder requires professional interventions to help restore emotional balance — a person can’t simply “shake it off.”

When you have bipolar disorder, abnormal brain function leads to a wide range of mood disturbances, from mild and extreme depression to hypomania and mania. As a person cycles through these changes, it can cause pronounced fluctuations in energy, activity, and sleep, and they can last for extended periods of time. 

For some people, these mood shifts can be so severe they interfere with their ability to function. However, others can have less severe symptoms that allow them to keep up with daily life. It’s also possible for people with bipolar disorder to have neutral moods in the midst of their cycling symptoms. 

MYTH: Your life is over if you have bipolar disorder

Living with bipolar disorder isn’t easy. But there are numerous treatments available that can help you function and live a long, healthy, and successful life.

It all starts with psychological testing to accurately diagnose your condition. Then, we can outline a personalized treatment strategy to help you manage your disorder so it won’t disrupt your life. In many cases, bipolar disorder responds best to a combination of mood-stabilizing medications and psychotherapy. 

With these tools, you can learn to recognize the signs a mood swing is coming so you can take steps to prevent it. We can also provide strategies to help stabilize your sleeping patterns, reduce stress, and control your emotions.

Don’t let myths or misconceptions keep you from getting help; you can have a rich and fulfilling life with bipolar disorder. Contact Associates in Behavioral Science in Berwyn, Illinois to schedule a consultation by calling 708-627-2710 or booking a visit online today.