Bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder that is characterized by alternating periods of mania and depression. Sadly, many people suffer from the symptoms of bipolar disorder for years without diagnosis and treatment — often because they have heard one or more of the following myths about the condition.
Myth: Bipolar disorder is rare, so you probably don't have it.
You're most likely to believe this if you don't know anyone with bipolar disorder. It may seem like a rare condition since it's something you've only heard about and read about anecdotally. However, bipolar disease is more common than you might think, with more than 5.7 million Americans affected. This is equivalent to about 2.6% of the adult population! If you are dealing with symptoms that resemble those of bipolar, there is a good chance you may have it, so you need to see a psychiatrist and get checked out.
Myth: Everyone with bipolar disorder has crazy, irresponsible, manic episodes.
On television, people with bipolar disorder are often characterized as being very dramatic when they're in a manic state. They may go out and spend thousands of dollars, work for three days without stopping, or go on huge adventures. Some people with bipolar disorder do behave this way, but for most people, the manic episodes are less pronounced. You may just feel super charged-up and motivated for a day or two before crashing. Don't discount the possibility of bipolar if your manic episodes aren't the same as those seen on TV.
Myth: You can treat bipolar disorder by just improving your lifestyle.
It is true that getting more exercise, sleeping more, and eating a healthier diet can help ease the symptoms of bipolar disorder. However, these lifestyle changes are unlikely to control bipolar disorder completely. It is a good idea to work with a psychiatrist who can prescribe medications and therapy strategies, which will be more effective long-term. Look at the lifestyle changes as supplemental, extra treatments.
Myth: Medications to manage bipolar disorder cause more problems than they solve.
Some people do experience unwanted side effects like lethargy and nausea when taking medications for bipolar disorder. However, if this happens to you, then you can switch to a different medication or adjust your dose of the current medication you're taking. Almost every patient is able to keep side effects manageable and enjoy the benefits of being on medications for bipolar disorder.
Hopefully, you now have a better grasp of the truth surrounding bipolar disorder and have been inspired to seek treatment. There is nothing to fear; you can only go up from here. For more information, reach out to a local company that can provide services for those who are experiencing bipolar disorder, like Bipolar Links LLC.