8 Bipolar Myths Busted
With rates of bipolar disorder being diagnosed on the rise, it is becoming more vital than it ever that fact is separated from fiction about the condition.
TV and films often portray bipolar in a very extreme way, and often these portrayals are full of inaccuracies. Such inaccuracies have the potential to further the stigma and misconceptions surrounding bipolar, and mental illness in general.
Throughout this article are examples of inaccuracies that are often believed about bipolar disorder, and discussion of the real facts behind these misleading ideas.
1. Bipolar Disorder is Just Mood Swings
A person with bipolar disorder will experience mood swings very differently to somebody who does not have it. Bipolar mood swings are much more intense and will last a lot longer than the average mood swing.
A key difference between a normal mood swing and a bipolar one is the impact it has on a person's life and everyday well-being. For example, a bipolar mood episode has the potential to stop someone being able to continue with employment, prevent them from sustaining a relationship, or have serious effects on their financial situation.
Bipolar mood swings can also be unrelated to a person's environment or current situation, unlike a standard mood swing which could be a reflection of an achievement not being met, a problem with their work or education, or even something as simple as the weather.
2. Someone Having a Manic Episode is Very Happy
While a person with bipolar disorder may enter mania in a happy mood, and for some this may be the case for the duration of the episode, assuming that mania is characterized by a happy mood is incorrect.
It is important for a manic episode to be monitored carefully and a medical professional to be made aware of the situation as soon as possible, as an episode has the potential to progress into something that could cause a significant impact on someone's life.
A manic episode could also result in irritability, insomnia, and a lack of good judgment which could lead to dangerous and risky behaviors such as the use of drugs or alcohol, or uncontrollable spending sprees.