Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that involves extreme mood changes. The condition has been poorly misunderstood over the years and people affected have suffered discrimination as a result. The bipolar disease can severely impact the day-to-day life of the person affected. Apart from extreme mood swings (mania-depressive episodes), there can be other symptoms that can follow like changes in energy levels, and changes in sleep patterns and sometimes patients can show symptoms of psychosis like hallucinations and paranoia.
Sadly, many people think that the disorder is rare. However, the condition is not so uncommon. It affects males and females equally and the symptoms can appear as early as in teenage. There are many such myths about the condition that needs to be busted.
Myth 1: Just mood swings
Bipolar disorder is a serious mental disorder wherein there might be changes in brain chemistry. It can affect how a person thinks, feels and behaves. The mood changes experienced are intense and there might be changes in their energy levels, activity, dietary habits and even sleeping pattern.
The condition is characterized by episodes of "mania" and depression. The former is a state of elevated mood and the latter involves feelings of despair. However, people with bipolar disorder also have periods of stability between the episodes where they might not be suffering from extreme mood changes. Also, bipolar disorder can be bifurcated into many types. Not all kinds will have similar symptoms and patterns of mood changes.
Myth 3: Only affects adults
Bipolar disorder can be diagnosed at 25 years of age or earlier. Sometimes the symptoms are noticeable in teenage. Some people develop the condition in childhood or adolescence.
Myth 4: They are crazy
Bipolar disorder is just like other health conditions where there might be structural and functional changes in the brain of the affected person. Sometimes when the mood swings are intense, people can suffer from psychotic symptoms like hallucinations and paranoia. It doesn't make these people dangerous or crazy. Like other people, they need more understanding and care.
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Myth 5: Affected person will always be ill
Unfortunately, there is no cure for bipolar disorder up till yet. However, it doesn't mean that the person might not be able to enjoy a normal life. Therapy, lifestyle changes and self-care alongside medication can help people manage symptoms and can promote faster recovery into a normal state. With good care, the person affected will be able to manage symptoms well.