There are a lot of myths of bipolar disorder out there and none of them are actually true. Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness that affects a lot of people and even though there is much that it’s still unknown about this disorder, there are still a lot of things people can do to deal with it in a healthier way. There are a lot of misconceptions about this mental illness and a lot of people don’t really know what bipolar disorder actually is. Here are some of the most well-known myths of bipolar disorder that aren’t true:
1. There is Only One Type of Bipolar Disorder
In my opinion, this is one of the most well-known myths of bipolar disorder that aren’t actually true. A lot of people think that there is only one type of bipolar disorder but they couldn’t be more wrong. There are actually several types: Bipolar I, Bipolar II, Cyclothymic bipolar disorder, rapid cycling bipolar disorder and mixed bipolar disorder.
2. Manic Depression is Different than Bipolar Disorder
What most people know under the name of manic depression is in fact bipolar disorder; the first is just the old name for this disorder. It was changed to describe more accurately the type of mood disorder that it is, which is “someone who experiences swings between two poles of mood (or emotion)” and those two poles are mania and depression.
3. It’s the Same Thing as Depression
Bipolar depression is not the same thing as depression even though a lot of times, it can mimic clinical depression. There are a lot of studies that show that up to 25 percent of people are misdiagnosed with depression even though they suffer from bipolar disorder.
4. Very Few People Have Bipolar Disorder
This is another very common myth of bipolar disorder that isn’t actually true. Most people think that very few people suffer from bipolar disorder and that this condition doesn’t affect too many people. In fact, they couldn’t be more wrong because many people choose to not disclose their condition to colleagues or acquaintances because they don’t want to be discriminated against. Statistics show that almost 6 million American are affected each year by this disorder.
5. Children Can’t Get Bipolar Disorder
This myth couldn’t be more false! Actually, studies show that children as young as 6 years old can develop bipolar disorder. Usually, when this disorder presents itself at a young age, there’s often a corresponding family history of mood disorders. Another important fact to keep in mind is that “Children who develop it can experience many periods of depression before the first manic episode, making it harder to diagnose.”
6. It’s Just a Dramatic Term for Mood Swings
Bipolar disorder is not just a dramatic term for mood swings. We all experience mood swings due to all kinds of reasons, but bipolar disorder is just a bit more. While a mood swing is a short-term feeling that lasts only a few minutes, bipolar mood swings are different, since they can last for weeks or months.
7. Bipolar Disorder Affects Only Mood
Even though the most well-known symptoms of bipolar disorder are mood-related, it can affect a lot of other things. For example, when people with bipolar disorder experience high or lows, they can experience problems with overall cognitive functions as well. Also, this disorder can mess with your sleep patterns, causing insomnia or oversleeping. Studies show that highs and lows can also contribute to bad lifestyle choices like smoking, drinking and poor diet.
There are a lot of myths of bipolar disorder out there that aren’t actually true. I just mentioned a few in this article but I’m sure there are many more I could add to this list. Do you know any other myths of bipolar disorder? Please tell us about them in the comments section!