Breaking the Stigma: Myths and Facts About Bipolar Disorder

May 23, 2023
Breaking the Stigma: Myths and Facts About Bipolar Disorder
Having bipolar disorder can be extremely challenging due to the misinformation and stigma attached to such a diagnosis. Dispelling myths and replacing them with facts helps everyone be better informed.

Of all of the many mental health disorder diagnoses out there, bipolar disorder is perhaps one of the most feared. There are just so many myths surrounding it, and there’s tons of stigma attached to the topic. However, knowledge is your best ally when facing any mental health challenge.

At P.S. Psychiatry in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, our team provide diagnosis of bipolar disorder and in-person or telehealth treatment to help you manage your symptoms and live a happy, productive life. Here’s what they want you to know about bipolar disorder.

Myth: People with bipolar disorder are all the same

Fact: There are three well-defined types of bipolar disorder, each with specific hallmarks.  

Bipolar I 

Bipolar I is the type of bipolar disorder commonly (and often inaccurately) represented on TV and in film. It is characterized by intense hypomanic and depressive episodes lasting weeks or months at a time.  

Bipolar II 

Many people have Bipolar II, which is similar to Bipolar I but presents with much milder mania and more severe depressive episodes. This is often misdiagnosed simply as depression, to the detriment of the patient.

Cyclothymic disorder

Cyclothymic disorder can be the most difficult to diagnose. The cycle of mania and depression are much more irregular and unpredictable, and are interspersed with periods of feeling completely balanced. People with cyclothymia are at higher risk than other people of developing Bipolar I or II.

Myth: Bipolar mania is totally worth the depression

Fact: Both depression and mania can have serious consequences. 

Many people buy into the bipolar disorder myth that a fair tradeoff for depressive episodes is “fun” mania, which can include feeling deliriously happy and full of energy. In reality, mania can be very harmful, since it comes with lowered inhibitions and impulsive behavior. Both depression and mania can have negative ramifications that last a lifetime.

Myth: People with bipolar disorder need to be institutionalized

Fact: People with managed bipolar disorder typically pose no threat to themselves or others.

Thanks to the misportrayal of bipolar disorder on television, and lack of easy access to mental health care in the U.S. many people believe that a bipolar diagnosis means you should be shut away in a mental health facility. This is a terrible myth. While some individuals may benefit from inpatient care for a short time period to get stabilized, most people with bipolar disorder flourish under outpatient treatment.

Myth: Bipolar disorder is completely untreatable

Fact: Treatments for bipolar disorder have an amazing 80% success rate.  

It’s a common myth that bipolar disorder is untreatable. In truth, bipolar disorder can typically be treated and often fully controlled. We uses a combination of medication management, various types of  therapy, and lifestyle/nutrition recommendations to help you manage your bipolar disorder. We also offer genetic testing to identify which medications you’re disposed to respond to, cutting down the time it normally takes to find the best treatment.

You shouldn’t have to constantly battle myths about bipolar disorder, nor should you suffer with uncontrollable swings from mania to depression and back again. Seeking help is the first step towards taking your life back.

To make an appointment at P.S. Psychiatry, call 267-884-1824 or request an appointment online today. We see patients in our Doylestown office and using our telehealth service.