What do successful people like musician Demi Lovato, comedian Russell Brand, news anchor Jane Pauley, and actress Catherine Zeta-Jones have in common? They, like millions of others, are living with bipolar disorder. When I received my diagnosis in 2012, I knew very little about the condition. I didn’t even know it ran in my family. So, I researched and researched, reading book after book on the subject, talking to my doctors, and educating myself until I understood what was going on. Although we are learning more about bipolar disorder, there remain many misconceptions. Here are a few myths and facts, so you can arm yourself with knowledge and help end the stigma
.1. Myth: Bipolar disorder is a rare condition.
2. Myth: Bipolar disorder is just mood swings, which everybody has.
Grumpy in the middle of the day, and then end up happy again, it doesn’t mean you have bipolar disorder — no matter how oftFact: The highs and lows of bipolar disorder are very different from common mood swings. People with bipolar disorder experience extreme changes in energy, activity, and sleep that are not typical for them. The psychiatry research manager at one U.S. university, who wishes to stay anonymous, writes, “Just because you wake up happy, get en it happens to you! Even a diagnosis of rapid-cycling bipolar disorder requires several days in a row of (hypo)manic symptoms, not just several hours. Clinicians look for groups of symptoms more than just emotions.”
3. Myth: There is only one type of bipolar disorder.
- Bipolar I is diagnosed when a person has one or more depressive episodes and one or more manic episodes, sometimes with psychotic features such as hallucinations or delusions.
- Bipolar II has depressive episodes as its major feature and at least one
hypomanic episode. Hypomania is a less severe type of mania. A person with
bipolar II disorder may experience either mood-congruent or mood-incongruent psychotic symptoms.
- Cyclothymic disorder (cyclothymia) is defined by numerous periods of hypomanic symptoms as well numerous periods of depressive symptoms lasting for at least two years (1 year in children and adolescents) without meeting the severity requirements for a hypomanic episode and a depressive episode.
- Bipolar disorder otherwise not specified does not follow a particular pattern and is defined by bipolar disorder symptoms that do not match the three categories listed above.
Although we are learning more about bipolar disorder, there remain many misconceptions. Here are a few myths and facts, so you can arm yourself with knowledge and help end the stigma.
4. Myth: Bipolar disorder is a rare condition.
5. Myth: Bipolar disorder can be cured through diet and exercise.
Fact: Bipolar disorder is a lifelong illness and there currently is no cure. However, it can be well-managed with medication and talk therapy, by avoiding stress, and maintaining regular patterns of sleeping, eating, and exercise.
6. Myth: Mania is productive. You’re in a good mood and fun to be around.
Fact: In some instances, a manic person may feel good at first, but without treatment things can become detrimental and even terrifying. They may go on a big shopping spree, spending beyond their means. Some people become overly anxious or highly irritable, getting upset over small things and snapping at loved ones. A manic person may lose control of their thoughts and actions and even lose touch with reality.
7. Myth: Artists with bipolar will lose their creativity if they get treatment.
Fact: Treatment often allows you to think more clearly, which will likely improve your work. Pulitzer Prize-nominated author Marya Hornbacher discovered this firsthand. “I was very
persuaded I would never write again when I was diagnosed with bipolar. But before, I wrote one book; and now I’m on my seventh.”She has found that her work is even better with treatment.“When I was working
on my second book, I was not yet treated for bipolar, and I wrote about 3,000 pages of the worst book that you have ever seen in your life. And then, in the middle of writing that book, which I just somehow couldn’t
finish because I kept writing and writing and writing, I got diagnosed and I got treated. And the book itself, the book that was ultimately published, I wrote in 10 months or so. Once I got treated for my bipolar, I was able
to channel the creativity effectively and focus. Nowadays I deal with some symptoms, but by and large I just go about my day,” she said. “Once you get a handle on it, it’s certainly livable. It’s treatable.
You can work with it. It doesn’t have to define your life.” She discusses her experience in her book “Madness: A Bipolar Life,” and she is currently working on a follow-up book about her road to recovery.8
8. Myth: All bipolar medications are the same.
Fact: It might take some trial and error to find the medication that works for you. “There are several mood stabilizers/antipsychotic medications available to treat bipolar. Something that works for one person might not work for another. If someone tries one and it doesn’t work or has side effects, it’s very important that they communicate this to their provider. The provider should be there to work as a team with the patient to find the right fit,” writes the psychiatry research manager.
One in five people is diagnosed with a mental illness, including bipolar disorder. I, like so many others, have responded extremely well to treatment. My daily life is normal, and my relationships are stronger than ever. I haven’t had an episode for several years. My career is strong, and my marriage to an extremely supportive husband is a solid as a rock
This is not an easy task. If I overstep what I have already converyed then I appolopgize. Somoe of this stuff can be so confusing and I don’t want top waste your time. I do appologize for duplicate information. Have an awesome day and I certainly hope I can reach out ot someone in need. That is my puropose. Thank you,