Bipolar Disorder: Separating Fact From Fiction

Although there are numerous misconceptions surrounding mental illness, bipolar disorder remains one of the most misunderstood conditions, and this can be attributed to two main reasons. For starters, some people automatically associate bipolar disorder with manic episodes and do not take the time to acquaint themselves with the host of other symptoms that are associated with this illness.

Secondly, since bipolar disorder is often associated with mania, it is a highly stigmatized mental health condition and this makes some people want to dissociate themselves from this illness. 

To seek the help that you or a loved one may need for this disorder, you need to debunk the myths that surround this illness. Keep reading to separate fact from fiction concerning bipolar disorder.

Is Bipolar Disorder Another Term for Extreme Mood Swings?

Certainly, the primary symptom associated with bipolar disorder is spontaneous changes in one’s emotional state. However, bear in mind that mood swings are normal emotions. Hence, assuming that bipolar disorder is merely about a patient’s inability to control their moods is highly unjust.

What sets bipolar disorder apart from a normal mood change is that these alterations in one’s emotional state are not just incredibly intense but they happen frequently too. The intensity associated with the mood alterations of bipolar disorder can be severe enough to disrupt one’s daily life, personal relationships, professional relationships, and so on.

Therefore, while a commonly recognized symptom of bipolar disorder is extreme mood swings, this symptom does not encompass the scope of bipolar disorder.

Do All Patients of Bipolar Disorder Have the Same Symptoms?

What may surprise you about bipolar disorder is that it can manifest in varying ways. Thus, while some people are familiar with the dramatic oscillation between manic and depressive episodes, this is not the only symptom that can afflict a patient.

Individuals that have developed Bipolar II disorder will typically have short episodes of hypomania, which is characterized by hyperactivity, and extreme happiness.

You should also keep in mind that there are plenty of other, less-discussed symptoms of bipolar disorder that some patients develop, such as hallucinations and restlessness.

Is Bipolar Disorder Diagnosed Via Brain Scans?

You could be under the impression that, since bipolar disorder is a mental health condition, it is diagnosed through brain testing, but you would be sorely incorrect. What you may be surprised to learn is that there is no concrete diagnostic test that can be carried out to determine if you or a loved one suffers from this disorder.

Instead, a medical health professional will determine if a patient requires bipolar disorder treatment by excluding other medical conditions that could contribute to the symptoms the patient has developed.

Are Prescription Drugs the Only Way to Manage Bipolar Disorder?

Speaking of diagnostic testing, another typical misconception that some people have regarding bipolar disorder is that once a patient is diagnosed, they will be dependent on prescription medication for the rest of their life. But this is untrue.

Admittedly, the first course of treatment that the physician will pursue is prescribing mood-stabilizing medications. However, patients are not mandated to be on these drugs for the rest of their lives. Instead, treatment will also include cognitive behavioral therapy, which teaches the patients their triggers and ideal coping mechanisms.

Patients are also encouraged to change their lifestyle, for example, by creating and adhering to a sleeping and eating schedule, as this can help diminish the risk of bipolar episodes occurring.

If you are looking for additional resources to help you or a loved one learn about bipolar disorder, you can reach out to Bipolar Links. With that said, you should never delay nor disregard medical advice because of anything on BipolarLinks.com.

Posted in