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5 Common Myths and Facts About Bipolar Disorder

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare — March 24, 2021 — 3 min read
In March, we have an opportunity to come together and show support to all our community members and loved ones who live with bipolar disorder. As we approach World Bipolar Awareness Day on March 30, it’s a good time to learn more about this illness and combat misinformation. This observance is celebrated on the same day as Vincent Van Gogh’s birthday. Van Gogh was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after his passing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 10 adults suffer from some type of mood disorder, with the most common conditions being depression and bipolar disorder.

Myths and Facts

Myth 1: Bipolar disorder is just mood swings, which everybody has

Fact: The highs and lows of bipolar disorder are very different from common mood swings. People with this illness have extreme changes in energy, activity, and sleep.

Myth 2: There is only one type of bipolar disorder

Fact: Different types of bipolar disorder have been identified:

Bipolar I: Involves periods of severe mood episodes from mania to depression, sometimes with psychotic events like hallucinations or delusions.

Bipolar II: A milder form of mood elevation, with milder episodes of hypomania (a less severe type of mania) that alternate with periods of severe depression.

Cyclothymic Disorder (Cyclothymia): Periods of hypomanic symptoms as well as periods of depressive symptoms lasting for at least two years (one year in children and adolescents).

Rapid-Cycling: Having four or more mood episodes within 12 months. Episodes must last for a minimum number of days to be considered distinct episodes. Some people also move from high to low or vice-versa within a single week, or even within a single day.            

Not Specified/Mixed Features: Does not follow a particular pattern. Has bipolar disorder symptoms that may not match the types listed above.

Myth 3: Bipolar disorder can be cured through diet and exercise

Fact: This is a lifelong illness and, to date, there is no cure. It can be well managed with steady medication, psychological therapy and a healthy lifestyle.

Myth 4: People with bipolar disorder are always either manic or depressed

Fact: They can experience long periods of even, balanced mood called euthymia. They may also experience a mixed episode with both mania and depression at the same time.

Myth 5: All medications for bipolar disorder are the same

Fact: It might take some trial and error to find the right medication for each person. There are several mood stabilizers/antipsychotic medications available to treat the illness.

Need Mental Health Help Fast?

Call **ASK (star-star-2-7-5) from your cell phone or 1-800-939-5911.

World Bipolar Awareness Day

Every year on March 30, communities, families, and advocates observe World Bipolar Awareness Day. We invite you to learn more about this brain disorder that affects approximately 2.3 million Americans or almost one percent of the population. You can learn the facts and help combat the myths with accurate information and resources. You can read and share the infographic below. For more resources, you can also visit our website or access these articles:
You can save or print this information with the infographic below.
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