Bipolar Disorder & Depression: 9 Popular Muths and Scientific Facts

Bipolar disorder (or manic depression) is a mental disorder that causes periods of abnormally elevated mood and periods of depression. During mania, an individual feels overwhelmingly energetic and happy. His behaves too impulsively and as a rule, recklessly. But in a couple of hours individuals feel depression, there may be crying and negative outlook on life, may appear suicidal thoughts.

The main feature of this mental disorder is that similar change of mood is not connected with the external reasons in any way. Most often bipolar disorder is shown at adults, but children and teenagers can also show signs.

Art: Andre Kohn

Popular Myth # 1:

Depression and bipolar disorder are just states of mind. A person just needs to “think positive” and they will go away.

Scientific Facts:

Bipolar Disorder & Depression (also known as manic depression) are real, treatable illnesses that affect the brain. They can’t be overcome by “snapping out of it.” Asking someone to “think positive” is like asking someone with diabetes to change his or her blood sugar level by thinking about it. People with mood disorders can feel better with the right treatment.

Popular Myth # 2:

Treatment is an excuse for people who are too weak to handle it on their own.

Scientific Facts:

Seeking treatment is a smart choice that takes strength. Mood disorders are not flaws or weaknesses. Seeking treatment means a person has the courage to look for a way to feel better.

Popular Myth # 3:

Talk therapy is just whining about problems. It doesn’t work.

Scientific Facts:

Talk therapy has been tested clinically and found to be effective.
In some cases it works as well as medication. Good talk therapy helps change behaviors that can make a person’s moods less stable.

Popular Myth # 4:

Medications that treat mood disorders are habit-forming and can change a person’s personality.

Scientific Facts:

When properly prescribed and used, medications are not addictive and do not change a person’s true personality. Medications help a person’s mood become more stable and even. They are not “happy pills” and should not be compared to street drugs. They do not cloud a person’s judgment or give a false sense of courage.

Popular Myth # 5:

People with mood disorders can not get better.

Scientific Facts:

When correctly diagnosed and treated, a person with depression or bipolar disorder can live a stable and healthy life. Millions of people already do.

Art: Andre Kohn

Popular Myth # 6:

Symptoms of depression or bipolar disorder in young children or elderly adults are normal. They are just a part of growing up or growing old.

Scientific Facts:

Recent studies have shown that children may be affected by mood disorders as young as infancy. Older adults are also at a high risk for depression. Severe mood changes in young children or older adults should be taken seriously.

Popular Myth # 7:

People with bipolar disorder or depression are dangerous.

Scientific Facts:

Research shows that people with mental illness do not commit significantly more violent acts than people in the general population. However, people with mental illness are twice as likely to be victims of violence.

Popular Myth # 8:

People with depression or bipolar disorder should not have children.

Scientific Facts:

People who have been treated for mood disorders can parent as well as anyone else. They are also more likely to recognize symptoms, treat their children early, and understand their children’s struggles if their children have mood disorders.

Popular Myth # 9:

People with depression or bipolar disorder are not stable enough to hold positions of authority in fields like law enforcement or government.

Scientific Facts:

People with mood disorders can and do hold positions of authority everywhere. When properly treated, a person’s mood disorder does not have to affect job performance.

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