Bipolar disorder can be responsible for depression and mania. Its intense mood swings can make it difficult to function. Thanks to increased awareness, more people have a basic understanding of the condition. Yet misconceptions still persist.
Here are 10 the biggest misconceptions about bipolar disorder.
Misconception #1: Bipolar disorder isn’t a real illness.
Bipolar disorder is a chronic illness which can require a lifetime of treatment and even hospitalization. Luckily, it can be controlled.
Misconception #2: Bipolar disorder is rare.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “bipolar disorder affects about 5.7 million American adults,” WebMD reported.
Misconception #3: Bipolar disorder doesn’t appear until age 18.
Children as young as six years of age can have bipolar disorder. The problem is that children can experience several periods of depression before their first manic episode. That makes it harder to diagnose, said HowStuffWorks.com.
“The Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation estimates that at least three quarters of a million American children and teens may suffer from bipolar disorder, although many are not diagnosed,” wrote WebMD.
Misconception #4: Mood is the only thing affected by bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder also causes problems with overall cognitive functions. One day a patient may have a razor-sharp focus. The next, their thoughts are muddled and sluggish, explained HowStuffWorks.com.
Misconception #5: Bipolar disorder and mood swings are the same.
Someone with bipolar disorder has mood swings much more severe than, for instance, someone who is upset about not losing weight.
Misconception #6: People with bipolar disorder always go back and forth from depression to mania.
This is a myth. The average bipolar patient is depressed more often than manic.
Misconception #7: When in a manic episode of bipolar disorder, people are very happy.
That does happen, but usually life is slipping out of their control. They become overly anxious, excited.