People with bipolar disorder suddenly and frequently change personality, like Jekyll and Hyde.
It is a common misconception that people with bipolar disorder have volatile, sudden mood swings. Most people with bipolar disorder are in a depressed period much more of the time than they are in a manic period. They may also have long stretches of normal mood functioning. People with rapid cycling bipolar disorder have four or more distinct episodes of highs and lows over the course of a year. Scientists estimate that most people with bipolar disorder will have eight or nine cycles in their lifetime.
The only thing you can do about bipolar disorder is take medication.
While medication is an important foundation to treating bipolar disorder, medication in combination with psychotherapy is more effective than medication alone. Once a person’s mood is stabilized, doctors and therapists focus on preventing another cycle. For this, healthy habits can be as important as staying on medication.
People with bipolar disorder can’t lead a normal life.
This is false. Living with bipolar disorder has its challenges, like any other chronic disease (heart disease, alcoholism, and diabetes, for example). But treatments are available and the symptoms can be managed. Bipolar disorder is common enough (about 3 in 100 Americans) that chances are, you know someone who has the disorder and they’re managing just fine.
Bipolar disorder only affects people’s moods.
Medical professionals call bipolar disorder a “mood disorder.” However, bipolar disorder, especially if it’s left untreated, affects far more than a person’s mood. It affects your thinking, memory, and judgment. It can change your sleep patterns, appetite, and sex drive. Your energy level and self-esteem can be dramatically affected. In severe episodes bipolar disorder can affect your perception of reality. Bipolar disorder has also been linked to higher risk of substance abuse, diabetes, heart disease, migraine headaches, self-injury, and suicide. Getting treatment at any time, but especially early treatment, can help manage and avoid these effects and risks.
Bipolar disorder is hard to live with, but it’s not nearly as serious as other illnesses.
Bipolar disorder is a very serious illness. Bipolar disorder can be ruinous to people’s lives and to their family’s lives. Bipolar disorder can interfere with a person’s perception of reality. And people with bipolar disorder have a greatly increased risk of self-injury and suicide.