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7 Bipolar Disorder Myths—Busted

7 Bipolar Disorder Myths—Busted
by QualityHealth Staff Writers
Reviewed by QualityHealth’s Medical Advisory Board

It’s believed that more than 5 million American adults have bipolar disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

But while most people are familiar with the term “bipolar disorder,” several myths about the condition still abound.

1. Myth: It’s obvious when someone has bipolar disorder, so it’s easy to diagnose.
Reality: Bipolar disorder is not always easy to diagnose and may be mistaken for other conditions, such as depression, schizophrenia, or ADHD.

2. Myth: If someone has bipolar disorder, nothing can be done.
Reality: Bipolar disorder can’t be cured, but there are ways to help manage the condition. These include medication and psychotherapy (also known as talk therapy).

3. Myth: Bipolar disorder and other types of mental illnesses are the result of bad parenting or laziness.
Reality: Most experts agree that mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder, are caused by a complex set of factors, including genetics, environment, and/or physical illnesses, and are not the result of poor parenting or weak character.

4. Myth: Someone with bipolar disorder can’t work or hold a steady job.
Reality: With proper treatment, people with bipolar disorder can be good employees and lead normal lives.

5. Myth: People with bipolar disorder will have to spend their lives in psychiatric hospitals.
Reality: Most people with bipolar disorder are treated outside of hospitals and have productive lives. Some may go to a hospital for a short stay if serious depression or mania occurs.

6. Myth: Once bipolar disorder is treated, people can stop taking medication.
Reality: Managing bipolar disorder is usually a lifelong commitment. People shouldn’t stop taking prescription medicine just because they’re feeling better, unless directed by a health-care provider.

7. Myth: Bipolar symptoms are always triggered by an emotional event.
Reality: Symptoms of bipolar disorder are often triggered by a stressful event, but not always. Sometimes mood swings happen without any obvious or apparent triggers.

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