Smoke and mirrors is something intended to disguise or draw attention away from an often embarrassing or unpleasant issue and in this case I’ll refer to Bipolar disorder. The mirror is the Bipolar disorder and the smoke can be anything to take away attention from that disease even replacing it with another. Hide it so to speak. I believe at some point there is no hiding from Bipolar disorder. Some people develop eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia, have anxiety, depression, social issues, alcohlism, literelly hundreds of other mental disorders. I won’t pretend to know anything about the others, only what I have experienced and I am not saying any chooses to have any other disease.

The truth is that there is so much misinformation out there it confuses people including myself. Here are a few myths and miconseptions on the Bipolar topic at hand.

Unfortunalty these understandings can often lead to a stigma toward people experiencing bipolar disorder. This may have an impact on the understanding and support they recieve. Let’s take a look at some of the common myths enveloping bipolar and the facts behind them.

Myth 1. Bipolar disorder is just mood swings.

“Weren’t you just sad a minute ago? I swear, you’re so bipolar!”

The idea that bipolar disorder and being moody are significant in a widley held misconception. Having feelings of sadness, happiness, anger, itrritability, etc. are all common emotions may arise at different times whether they are within the circumstance of an outward event or a purely internal state. Mania and depresive episodes, however, are extreme changes in not just mood but energy, hehaviour, activity. Mania and depressive episodes are extreme changes in not just mood but energy, behavior, activity and sleep. In addition, “mania” must last as least one week to be considered a manic episode and a depressive episode must last for at least a two-week period.

Myth 2. There is only one type of bipolar disorder

Many people have a specific idea of what someone who has bipolar disorder looks like. However, in reality, there are actually four distinct bipolar disorders according to the DSM-5.

Bipolar 1: Characterized by one or more manic episodes and one or more depressive episodes.

Bipolar 2: Is defined by depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes which is a less severe type of mania.

Cyclothymic disorder: Several periods of displaying hypomanic symptoms and depressive symptoms lasting for at least two years without meeting the citieria for a hypomanic and depressive episode.

Bipolar disorder not otherwise specified” Symptoms of bipolor disorder that do not fit the diagnostic criteris of any of the other three disorders.

Many people vision a person experiencing bipolor disorder constantly fluctuating between brief and numerous periods of mania and depression throughout their day. As mentioned in myth 1, however manic episodes must last at least a we.ek and depressive episodes at least two weeks with the exception of some types of rapid cycling bipolar disorder. In addition to that, people with bipolar disorder often experience long periods of a stable, tranquil mood state known as “euthymia.” This mood state is neither manic nor depressive; however it can still be distinquished from helathy control groups.

Myth 3. People with bipolar disorder constantly switch between mania and depression.

Myth 4. “She’s probably just faking it… I bet she could control herself if she really wanted to.”

This is an unfortunate common belief in regard to bipolar disorder among the general public.In reality, bipolar disorder is a widely-recognized mental illness with both genetic and environmental predispositions. On a neurological level, the emotional centers of the brain such as the amygdala appear to have excessive activity while the frontal cortex which assists in impulse control, judgment and problem solving/decision-making skills appears to have too little. Stressful or traumatic life events or alcohol and drug use may also be a trigger for bipolar disorder in a person who already has a predisposition

Myth 5. Medication is the only treatment option.

Recearch supports the use of medication as an effective treatment option for bipolar disorder and by no means the only treatment option that should be concidered.

Psychotherepy can be a significant part of the treatment process and provide people with valuable skills to challenge inappropriate negative thought patterns and develop coping strategies to deal with their overwhelming emotions. Psychoeducation may also be useful in developing a greater understanding around one’s disorder, recognizing triggers and responding appropriately.

Myth 6. People always act “crazy” when they’re experiencing mania.

Many people believe “mania” refers to “crazy,” erratic and highly risky behavior, and while this may be true for some people, it is important to remember that mania does not look the same for everyone experiencing bipolar disorder. For others, a manic episode may involve increased talkativeness, increased goal-directed activity or restlessness, being easily distracted or an increase in self-esteem

Myth 7. People with bipolar disorder should not be trusted.

This is a completely irrational and false belief, not only around bipolar disorder but also many other mental illnesses. Granted, when one is experiencing a manic episode they may become more erratic or unpredictable than usual; however, manic episodes do not last forever and many people with bipolar disorder learn how to manage their symptoms as they progress through their recovery journey. In reality, if these people receive the support and help they require, they become more than capable of being just as reliable as any other person.

If you feel you or someone you know may be experiencing bipolar disorder, it is important you reach out to your GP or mental health professional for support. While bipolar disorder can be a challenging mental illness to live with, by engaging with the proper treatment and support – both formal and informal – many people with this disorder live productive and meaningful lives.

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