About Bipolar Disorder

2013 Bipolar Update

About Bipolar Disorder

There are a lot of things said about bipolar disorder. However, much of the information people have about bipolar disorder is based on half truths and misconceptions. Many of these myths come about because of lack of awareness about the disease resulting from the stigma attached to it. Most sufferers are too embarrassed about their condition to be open about it. This negative attitude towards the disorder may make sufferers of the condition reticent about seeking treatment which they sorely need.

One of the more common misconceptions about bipolar disorder is that it is not really a disease and the so called sufferers are simply looking for an excuse to act badly and get away with it. The truth of the matter is that bipolar disorder is a real and potentially very serious mental illness that affects quite a number of people. People affected by the condition cannot help the mood swings associated with the disorder as it is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain that results in brain function abnormalities. It is not exactly clear why people suffer from this condition but one of the most likely culprits is genetics. Bipolar disorder is further broken down into four categories depending on the symptoms, the length and frequency of the episodes. These four categories are Bipolar I, Bipolar II, Cyclothymic disorder and Bipolar disorder not otherwise specified abbreviated as BP-NOS.

Another common misconception about bipolar disorder is that it is only characterized by mood swings. While extreme mood swings from depression to mania are the more common symptoms, there are other bipolar disorder signs that come with the illness. Other symptoms will include irritability, heightened sex drive, restlessness, racing thoughts, insomnia, hallucinations and delusions; all of which occur during the manic stage. During the depressive stage, symptoms will include anxiety, lack of interest, inability to concentrate, listlessness, fatigue and suicidal thoughts.

Many people have the idea that bipolar disorder seems to affect more women than men. The truth about bipolar disorder is that it does not discriminate along gender lines. Women and men are equally affected by this mental illness. One of the reasons for this misconception is that women are commonly said to suffer mood swings blamed on their hormones. Another likely reason is that women are probably more open to revealing that they suffer from this illness than men. Men will be stigmatized and judged more harshly than women should they tell others they are suffering from this illness.

Perhaps because it is categorized as a mental illness, a lot of people think that individuals suffering from bipolar disorder cannot hold down jobs or lead normal lives. This misconception may arise due to extreme cases of the disorder where the sufferer is extremely violent and disruptive. However, this normally occurs to individuals who are not being treated or who have chosen to discontinue their medication without the doctor's knowledge. In most circumstances, people with bipolar can lead normal lives as long as they follow their medical instructions. The condition will also affect people differently. The good thing about bipolar disorder is that, while it cannot be cured, it can be managed by medication and therapy.

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