Guest Post: 7 Common Myths About Bipolar Disorder: Busted by Nidhi Thakur

Today every one in five people is diagnosed with a mental illness, including bipolar disorder. For those who still don’t know, bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness that’s thought to be caused by an imbalance in the way brain cells communicate with each other. 

This imbalance causes extreme mood swings that go way beyond the normal ‘ups and downs of everyday life, wildly exaggerating the mood changes that everyone has. 

Someone with bipolar can have long or short periods of stability but then tends to go ‘low’ (into deep depression) or ‘high’ (experiencing mania or psychosis). They can go into a ‘mixed state’ too, where symptoms of depression and mania occur simultaneously.

But’s that’s not what we are going to discuss today. 

We are here to discuss the common misconceptions that our society has today regarding bipolar disorder patients. 

Without calculating or considering any background events or genetic testing from the patients’ past life, society concludes that every person dealing with a mental health issue is manic or “crazy”.

Usually, society doesn’t care about medical facts; as a result, they start feeding their minds with wrong information. 

This misinformation leads to “the spread of myths” and myths create fear in society, especially among the family members who deal with a bipolar patient every day. 

Please Stop Believing These 7 Common Bipolar Disorder Myths!

Myth Number 1: Bipolar disorder is very rare. Therefore, if you are a bipolar patient, society has a right to declare you crazy or a manic. 
 
The Fact: Sadly, this is not true. More than 5 million adults are currently affected by bipolar disorder in the USA alone, around 2 to 7% of people in the United States. 

In 1990, bipolar disorder statistics by the World Health Organization (WHO) have identified bipolar disorder as the sixth leading cause of disability-adjusted life years in the world among people aged 15 to 44 years. 

So bipolar patients – No, you are not alone!

Myth Number 2: Drug abuse and Alcoholism is the cause of bipolar disorder.

The Fact: Actually, this is quite a confusing perception to justify. 

Yes, Bipolar Disorder and Alcoholism can often occur together and, bipolar patients may use alcohol to make themselves feel better (self-medicate) or escape their problems.

Also, alcohol intake can worsen the symptoms and severity of bipolar disorder, increasing the risk of mood swings, depression, violence, and suicide.

But alcohol is just a way to escape from the problem. It cannot be the only factor or cause behind bipolar disorder. There are other major multifaceted causes of bipolar mental conditions like – Genetics, Psychosis, Depression, and Anxiety. 

Myth Number 3: Bipolar in children…Whhhhat? – That’s not a thing!

Unfortunately, yes! bipolar disorder in children is a thing. 

The Fact: This mental health disorder can occur in children as young as age six. Shocking- Right!?

If your young kids or teens show anxiety symptoms, low concentration (ADHD), or suicidal tendencies for months and years, then yes, something is not right with your kid, and you must consider some professional help for your kid. 

Myth Number 4: There is only one type of bipolar disorder. 

The Fact: There are four major types of bipolar disorders. Here are the following types: 

Bipolar I disorder, also known as manic depression. Any person affected by this type will experience at least one manic episode in their life. 

Bipolar II disorder is also very similar to bipolar I disorder, but it is diagnosed when a person cycles between high and low moods over time.

Cyclothymic bipolar disorder is a mild mood disorder. In this, the mood swings between distinct episodes of hypomania (elevated mood and euphoria) and a short period of mild depressive symptoms. 

Rapid-cycling bipolar disorder can occur at any point in the course of bipolar disorder. In this, a person experiences four or more severe manic episodes of depression and anxiety in just one year. Plus, it can come or go over many years, depending on how well the illness is treated. 

Mixed features bipolar disorder person will show mixed features and symptoms of both moods (poles) that is mania and depression. Plus, everything occurs in a rapid sequence.
 
Myth Number 5: Bipolar Disorder affects men and women the same way. 

The Fact: Actually, bipolar disorder affects men and women equally, but in different ways. 

In men, this disorder occurs at a very early age and is more severe than in women. Men’s reaction to bipolar tends to be extremely more manic than a bipolar woman. In contrast, a woman tends to feel more depressed while facing bipolar disorder. 

Also, bipolar men are more likely to be out drinking, fighting, and yelling at people. Plus, they are highly prone to suicidal tendencies. The reason behind this could be the basic difference in hormones. 

Myth Number 6: It is impossible to help someone with bipolar disorder.

The Fact: People think like this at times because some bipolar patients refuse treatment; and they urge to walk away from treatment. 

But, if this patient is someone you care about, please try to support them as long as it is comfortable for both of you. Listen to their opinion on getting a treatment and their reasons for refusing, be open, and help them calm down in times of crisis. 

Although, bipolar patients can expect a great reduction in their bipolar symptoms and get back to everyday work life like any other human if given proper treatment and care. 

Myth Number 7:  Bipolar Disorder can always be cured with medication only. 

The Fact: Many people believe it’s a disease for the body, and it can only be cured with antipsychotics, anticonvulsants, and antidepressants.

This is not true at all. Bipolar treatment involves many other treatments like – lifestyle management and self-care practices that work well with medication in reducing its symptoms. 

One can control their mental disability over time if they continue taking the right medication, eat a healthy diet, get involved in talk therapy, avoid stress, sleep properly, and exercise daily. 

Undoubtedly, these all are very helpful for managing the severe relapses of mani and depression. But remember, bipolar disorder is a lifelong mental illness, which can only be managed, it cannot be permanently cured. 

About the Author:

Nidhi Thakur is a freelance content writer for hire in the health and wellness niche. She works with fitness bloggers, health magazines, and B2B companies providing highly informative and engaging content that helps businesses convert viewers into sustaining clients. When Nidhi is not writing, she loves to work out and read.

Her website: The Sculpt Fitness

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