myths about bipolar disorder

11 Myths About Bipolar Disorder

I meet lots of people daily who have several misconceptions about mental disorder. Most of us don’t even know what is true or what is not? I heard many times the myths of one of the most common mental disorder is Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia which leads to a stigma towards people living with mental illness, limiting their access to treatment and support. So, in this article, I will clear your misconception because it’s important for you to learn about the actual facts of bipolar disorder which will help you to overcome the problem.

Here are few most common myths about the Bipolar disorder that you must know:

Myth 1: Bipolar disorder is just mania

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition wherein a person experiences phases of depression and mania.

Bipolar disorder includes a wide-range of mood disturbances and diversions, from mania and hypo-mania to depression and such.

Mania is considered a state of elevated mood leading to severe disruption in day to day activities, often involving some psychotic symptoms. While Hypo-mania is similar, but not as intense or disruptive as mania and depression is a state of persistent low mood and significant decrease in energy as well as activity.

When these symptoms are seen to be present for a specific period of time, they are termed an ‘episode’. A person with Bipolar disorder can experience one , or a combination of these mood symptoms during a single episode.

Myth 2: There is only one type of Bipolar disorder

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5), there are currently four types of Bipolar disorders, all distinguished by different experiences and intensity of mood disturbances experienced:

Bipolar I – manic episode

Bipolar II – hypomanic and depressive episodes

Cyclothymic Disorder – hypomanic and depressive symptoms

Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified – bipolar-like mood disturbance that does not fit the pattern of the other diagnoses.

Myth 3: Bipolar disorder is rare

The annual years of healthy life lost per 100,000 people from bipolar disorder in India has increased by 14.3% since 1990, an average of 0.6% a year. The three most debilitating mental and substance use disorders in India during 2013 were depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, and bipolar disorder respectively.

Myth 4: People who have Bipolar disorder are just moody

People with Bipolar disorder do experience highs and lows, however these mood swings are much different from normal day to day fluctuations we all experience. The highs and lows in Bipolar disorder are way more extreme, often occur out of context, can last for an unusually long period of time. The experience can be very debilitating for the patient, sometimes even requiring the patient to be admitted in the hospital. The WHO estimates Bipolar disorder to be one of the leading causes of disability in the world, and the lifetime risk of death by suicide in Bipolar disorder is around 15 percent.

Myth 5: People with Bipolar disorder are manic all the time

Not really. States of mania and hypomania are comparatively rare. Most of the time, it’s more common for someone with Bipolar disorder to experience depressive symptoms. In fact, because depressive episodes are more common or frequent, it is a common occurrence for Bipolar disorder to be misdiagnosed or misinterpreted as depression.

Myth 6: Mania can be fun, enjoyable, or lead to productivity

When people are experiencing mania, have lots of energy, and can go without sleep for long periods of time. While this might sound great, mania can also be a very uncomfortable and unpleasant and debilitating experience for the individual, since it comes with symptoms of irritability, restlessness and feeling out of control.

During a manic episode, people can sometimes take big risks or do things impulsively which they otherwise wouldn’t do and this might have damaging effects on their career or life in general.

Myth 7: Medication is the only treatment for Bipolar disorder

There are various ways in which doctors can approach treatment for Bipolar disorder. Medication is only one of the many ways. While medication is often the first line treatment prescribed for Bipolar disorder, however, many other forms of psycho-therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), family-focused therapy, and interpersonal and social rhythm therapy have been shown to help minimize the symptoms of bipolar disorder and reduce the risk of future episodes.

A combination of psychological treatments and medication have the most effective and enduring outcomes. Additionally, some self-help strategies such as education, sleep hygiene, early warning signs, symptom monitoring, meditative and reflective practices, and maintaining good social support have also been found to be helpful in mitigating the symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Myth 8: There is an online or at home bipolar test that can be taken.

Not true. In early 2000s, an at-home bipolar test was being sold over the Internet. But the test only tells users whether their genetic makeup puts them at higher risk of having or getting bipolar disorder. And nothing about whether or not they are currently suffering from it.

The bipolar test evaluates saliva samples for two mutations in a gene called GRK3, associated with the disorder. But it can’t tell users for sure.

The correct way of diagnosing a disorder depends on a doctor taking a careful patient history, asking about symptoms over time. A family history of the disorder increases a person’s chances of getting it.

Myth 9: Bipolar disorder can’t be diagnosed until the individual is of age 18.

While it is true that it’s more difficult to diagnose it in some people than in others, because of varying patterns of the disorder, it is definitely not required that the individual be of above 18 years of age to be diagnosed with Bipolar disorder.

And typical childhood behavior — such as having a tantrum and recovering quickly to go to a birthday party — can also make it difficult to diagnose the condition in children.

Even so, the disorder may be present but not diagnosed until later, he says. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the median age of onset for bipolar disorder is 25 years old (half are older, half are younger).

Myth 10: People with bipolar disorder should not take antidepressants.

It is often a matter of concern that some people who are depressed and bipolar, if they take antidepressants could flip into a mania.

The argument behind this is that the mood will be elevated too much and mania will result. Although the concern has some validity, doctors suggest, that does not necessarily mean you should always avoid antidepressants. Sometimes, as research suggests, people need the drugs, especially if the depression persists. It entirely depends on the particular individual and the severity of symptoms shown.

Myth 11: For individuals suffering from bipolar disorder, all of their moods occur due to their condition only. 

It must be known that one part of the personality does not influence all actions of an individual. For example, if a person is termed as aggressive by his peers or family members, it does not mean that his anger will always be erratic or irrational.

There may be a genuine reason that justifies the person getting angry. Likewise, people with bipolar do have moods and feelings not related to their disorder. Any argument or misdeed should not be blamed on the disorder alone. Bipolar disorder as a condition is treatable and can be stabilised, and the cause for grievances and reactions can be genuine.

Conclusion: I hope you guys are quite clear about bipolar disorder and the myths about bipolar disorder. If you found someone suffering from bipolar disorder then make sure they have a proper treatment from the best psychiatrist in Delhi.

I hope you guys like this post and if you have any question regarding bipolar disorder and it’s treatment then leave the comment below in comment section.

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