Common Misconceptions about Bipolar Disorder

» Posted by on Dec 20, 2015 in Alpha Blog | 0 comments

Common Misconceptions about Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a complex mental illness that is often misunderstood. While all mental illness’ face stigma, bipolar disorder in particular has it’s own set of issues due to the lack of knowledge of the general public. Unfortunately individuals are often hesitant to speak about it when they do receive this diagnosis, due mostly to the fear of backlash from people in their lives. People often equate bipolar disorder to “being crazy”, which is not only hurtful but also very ignorant.

Listed below are some of the most common misconceptions about bipolar disorder:

  • People with bipolar are never happy, they are either depressed or mad all the time. This statement is completely wrong, for many reasons. No one feels something “all the time” or “never”, no matter what their mental illness may be. It is unfair to assume that someone with this condition is not capable of being content and happy. People living with this condition are able to feel happy and good about themselves just like anyone else.
  • If someone is on medication or getting therapy for bipolar, they should never have mood swings or problems with the condition again. It is unfair to assume that because someone is treating an illness that they don’t struggle with it everyday. There are many types of treatment available to those with this condition including medication and therapy. Even with medication or intense therapy, they can have incidents where they struggle with the symptoms. Medication for bipolar disorder isn’t a perfect science and may require time and adjusting to get the right dosage and type. Therapy is always a work in progress, and it doesn’t magically make anyone’s problems disappear. People with bipolar disorder have to work at using tools learned in therapy to cope with their condition.
  • People who have mood swings or lack self control must have bipolar disorder. You hear it all the time “He has to be bipolar or something because he totally loses control when he is mad”, or some other statement where an unqualified individual labels someone as “bipolar”. It is important to understand that personality traits that are hard to deal with or irrational do not equate to someone having bipolar disorder. There are a long list of symptoms that a qualified individual uses to assess and diagnose someone with the condition, and it isn’t as simple as someone consistently presenting poor behavior.
  • If someone with bipolar disorder is having a bad day, it is likely due to them not taking their medication. People with bipolar disorder are entitled to have emotions and have both good and bad days. Others shouldn’t assume that someone with bipolar disorder is only feeling a certain emotion due to skipping their medication. Nobody has a good day everyday, and people with bipolar disorder don’t either. Like everyone else, life can affect their mood, regardless of how diligently they take their medication.
  • People with bipolar disorder are “crazy”. This statement could possibly be the most hurtful assumption of all, because it makes people with bipolar disorder feel both misunderstood and defeated. Bipolar disorder can be debilitating and a person can struggle with it their entire lives, but that doesn’t mean that they are unable to function or act in a rational way. Assuming that someone who suffers from this condition is scary or dangerous is not only false, but based on a stereotype with no basis in reality.

If you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and would like to seek treatment, our therapists at Alpha Counseling and Treatment are able to help. If a loved one suffers from bipolar disorder and you struggle with your relationship with them, we also can offer assistance. Contact us today to see what we offer!

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