5 Misunderstandings About Bipolar Disorder

Today we are going to talk about the five misconceptions about Bipolar Disorder.

Now the first one is that there are only manic or depressive episodes within Bipolar. And that is completely false. Because there are, If you remember from my old bipolar video I talk about how people with Bipolar Two disorder, Never reach full blown mania. Instead they reach what we call Hypomania. Which is kind of a lower grade of Mania. But it’s a totally different state. It can, it feels very different to the person. And it’s just not Mania. And other people don’t fully reach Depressive episodes. They’ll just have a low grade depression. What, if it goes on for a long time we would call it Dysthymia. And people can even, to make it even more complicated and complex, people can even have mixed episodes. Which is when a Manic or Hypomanic episode occurs at the same time as a Depressive episode. And this, as you can imagine, can make us feel very uncomfortable. Very frustrated and irritable. Because not only do we have a ton of energy. And we have a lot of these grandiose thoughts and we are very excited. But we also feel really down at the same time. And very bad about ourselves. And it can make us feel very agitated. Having like two opposites happening at the same time. And to be truthful, it gives us an increased risk for suicide. So something as a clinician we have to look out for.

Is Bipolar II Less Serious than Type I?

The second common misconception about Bipolar Disorder, Is that Bipolar Two, is a ‘milder form’ of Bipolar. Now that’s completely false. Because the thing about Bipolar Two Disorder is that we don’t reach full blown Mania. And we stay in Depressive episodes for much longer periods of time. We may reach a Hypomania, but because many people don’t reach the Mania. They never go in to the hospital. Often times they go years without getting help. And because depression is such a prominent part of Bipolar Two Disorder. The deepness of their depression goes on for years before they get any help and they reach out for help. And it can severely impair their functioning. And their ability to go to work. To interact with their loved ones. And just their overall level of functioning.

Do People Who Have Mood Swings Have Bipolar Disorder?

The third common misconception about Bipolar Disorder, Is that people who have mood swings during the day, have Bipolar. People will often say, ‘Oh, you know, she’s on it again. She’s so Bipolar.’ Mood swings are not Bipolar Disorder. If you remember in my video back in the day that I talked about Bipolar Disorder and how we diagnose it. In order to be diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, whether it’s One or Two. Now in One, we have to reach full blown Mania. That means that we have this grandiose sense of self. This extreme feeling of elation. And Mania has to occur for at least one week. And those symptoms have to permeate each of those days almost completely. Meaning there is no real breaks. We feel this way continuously for a week. And in order to be diagnosed with a Major Depressive episode. If we had Bipolar Two. If we’ve never reached Mania and we had a Depressive episode. In order to get that. We have to be in a depressive episode, Meeting at least five of the depressive criteria. And it have to last for at least two weeks. So you can see that someone’s mood shifting during the day, is definitely not Bipolar Disorder. Those are just mood swings.

Do People with Bipolar Disorder have Mania?

The fourth common misconception about Bipolar Disorder, Is that all Bipolar patients have Mania. And as you remember from my old video, and what I talked about previously. That’s not true. Because Bipolar Two patients never reach full blown Mania. They reach Hypomania, a very, a lower grade version of mania. And they spend a lot of their time. I would almost venture to say a majority of their time. In Depressive episodes. Therefore not all Bipolar patients have Mania.

Are People with Bipolar Disorder Unreliable?

The fifth common misconception about Bipolar Disorder, Is that those who have been diagnosed with Bipolar are unreliable. Or can’t function. Now you and I both know that that is completely untrue. That’s a false accusation. People who have mental illness are not hindered. We can overcome. If we get the help and the support that we need. We can do whatever we want. Just because we are diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, Doesn’t mean that we can’t achieve great things. Many people who have Bipolar Disorder are doing wonderful things in our world. They are actors and actresses. Business owners. There are artists. They’re doing whatever they want. So don’t think that having a diagnosis means that you can’t do what you want. I just encourage each of you to reach out and get the support and the help that you need.

In order to function in your life. And do whatever it is you dream to do. Because we can all do what we dream.

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