Despite being a reasonably prevalent mental condition, bipolar disorder is  underrepresented. Many people think that someone with bipolar disorder is consistently either happy or  sad. This might lead to people diagnosed with bipolar disorder frequently feeling  unsupported and misunderstood due to such myths. Let us examine the definition of  bipolar disorder and a few common misconceptions. 

Manic and depressive episodes are the hallmarks of bipolar disorders.

A period of  abnormally elevated or irritated mood and increased goal-directed activities define  a manic episode. Several signs may include: 

· Inflated self-esteem 

· Decreased need for sleep 

· More talkative than usual 

A depressive episode is characterised by symptoms such as: 

· Depressed mood most of the day (e.g., feeling sad or hopeless) – while it would  present as an irritable mood in children 

· Diminished interest or pleasure in activities 

· Significant weight loss or weight gain 

Myth 1 – Bipolar disorder only affects mood swings 

Although it may appear that having bipolar disorder just means having extremely high  or low moods, this is frequently untrue. People without mental illnesses have mood  swings that span a variety of emotions. They can feel pleased or sad without crossing the  line into mania or despair. A feature of bipolar disorder is that individuals with it exhibit  excessive behaviours because their mood swings fall outside the range of typical  emotions.

Myth 2 – Bipolar disorder only affects adults 

This notion is reasonable because it can be difficult to tell whether a child is manic or  simply has had too many sweets, or else whether they are depressed or just sad.  However, children can also be diagnosed with bipolar disorder. As some of the  symptoms of mania in children are similar to those of children with ADHD (Attention  Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), bipolar disorder in children is at times misdiagnosed. 

Myth 3 – Bipolar disorder can be cured 

Bipolar disorder is, regrettably, a chronic condition. Although there is no lasting  treatment for bipolar disorder, medications are used to moderate the symptoms. Bipolar  disorder individuals can retain stability throughout their lives with the help of  medications, a balanced diet, and an active lifestyle. When a drug is effective, it may be  tempting to quit taking it, but doing so will cause symptoms to return. 

Myth 4 – Having bipolar means you are always manic or depressed 

The length of a manic or depressive episode often varies on the person experiencing it.  Rapid cycling is defined as having four or more episodes of mania or depression in a  year. This means that someone who is not rapid cycling may only experience a few  episodes in a year, even though these can last for extended periods. However, it also  means that they have significant periods of emotional stability. 

Myth 5 – Individuals with bipolar disorder cannot work 

People with bipolar disorder can work and succeed, just like anyone who has any other  illness. It is becoming simpler for people to work, especially now that workplaces are  beginning to acknowledge mental illness as a serious issue that needs to be treated.  People with bipolar disorder are generally able to maintain quite regular lifestyles,  including being able to work. Someone with bipolar disorder may benefit from  structure, such as that found in employment.

Above we have covered a few widespread myths concerning bipolar disorders. To  appropriately help people with bipolar disorder and others around them, it is critical to  be aware of this disorder and to educate ourselves and others about it. 

If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach  out here. 

Charlot Cauchi is a Gestalt Psychotherapist at Willingness. He has experience working  with adult clients with mental health difficulties, anxiety and depression, loss and grief,  traumatic experiences, stress and relational issues. 

References American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental  disorders (5th ed.). American Psychiatric Association.