Myths and Facts About Bipolar Disorder

Sep 01, 2022
Myths and Facts About Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder affects millions of Americans, yet despite its prevalence, it is still surrounded by stigma and misinformation. In this post, you’ll learn about some of the most common myths regarding this common condition.

Nearly 6 million Americans have bipolar disorder, along with it the high and low mood cycles associated with the condition. Although bipolar disorder isn’t uncommon, it’s surrounded by a lot of misinformation and myths.

With locations in Glendale and Phoenix, Arizona, The Marcann Group is a leading provider of bipolar treatments, tailoring therapy to each patient’s symptoms, lifestyle, and treatment goals. In this post, our team sets the record straight, dispelling some of the most common myths surrounding bipolar disorder.

Myth: Bipolar disorder only occurs in adults

Bipolar disorder can affect people of all ages, including kids and teens. Often, it’s more challenging to diagnose in kids and teens because it may cause different symptoms or be confused for another disorder, like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It may also be present alongside ADHD. But the truth is, bipolar disorder can be just as devastating for kids as it is for adults.

Myth: Bipolar disease affects everyone the same way

Like any health challenge, bipolar disorder occurs on a spectrum, with some people experiencing different symptoms or different levels of severity. There are also several “types” of bipolar disorder.

Bipolar I

This group includes people with extreme manic episodes lasting for seven days or longer or requiring hospitalization. Depressive episodes typically last for two or more weeks. 

Bipolar II

People with bipolar II have similar symptoms as those with bipolar I, but the “highs” or manic episodes aren’t as dramatic or severe, and the depressive episodes are more prominent.

Cyclothymic disorder

People with cyclothymic disorder have relatively mild episodes of mania and depression, with less severe symptoms than people with either type I or type II.

Myth: Most bipolar symptoms are due to food allergies 

Many people believe that many mental health issues are related to food allergies or nonmedical causes. But the fact is, bipolar disorder is a real medical issue with real medical causes that are unique to the disorder. It is not caused by food allergies, vaccines, or any other outside trigger.

Myth: Bipolar disorder is curable

Bipolar disorder is definitely manageable with the correct combination of therapy and medications. However, to date, there is no cure.

Myth: The manic phase is fun

Many people without bipolar disorder associate mania with feeling “upbeat” or “euphoric.” While high moods and excess energy are definitely part of manic episodes early on, the flip side involves feelings of irritability, an inability to concentrate, heightened anxiety, and racing thoughts that can interfere with daily activities. Mania can also lead to risky or reckless behaviors, including unsafe sex, drug use, and devastating shopping sprees.

Myth: The highs and lows are predictable

It’s easy to think of bipolar disorder as “highs and lows” of mood and behavior. But the symptoms and phases of the disorder are far more subtle than that, which is why it’s often misdiagnosed. 

What’s more, sometimes mania and depression can occur together, making the distinction between phases even more difficult. Bottom line: Bipolar symptoms don’t follow a pattern.

Myth: Bipolar only affects your moods

Bipolar disorder affects your whole health. You may have problems with your eating habits, sleep patterns, energy levels, or performance at work or school. Social and family relationships are also affected. Some people with bipolar disorder can experience delusions or hallucinations, and suicidal thoughts and actions can also occur.

Myth: Treatment doesn’t work

Today, people with bipolar disorder have more options than ever before for managing their symptoms and taking back control over their moods, behaviors, and lives. Our team takes a custom approach to treatment, tailoring every plan to the needs of the patient. Depending on your needs, your treatment might include:

  • Talk or cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Antidepressants
  • Mood stabilizing medications
  • Drugs to help control or prevent mania
  • Lifestyle changes to optimize your health in other ways

Treatment is ongoing and ever-changing to ensure your plan stays on track with your needs.

You can manage your bipolar symptoms

And we can help. The key is working with a team that truly understands the disease, its symptoms, and the way they affect your life and wellness. Our team works closely with every patient to create a treatment plan designed for success. To learn how we can help you, book an appointment online or over the phone with Marcann Mental Health Services today.