How To Help A 12 Year Old Boy With Depression Bipolar Disorder – Myths And Facts

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Bipolar Disorder – Myths And Facts

There are many different falsehoods and misinformation online and off about bipolar disorder. While most of this information is harmless, a few of them really pose problems, so this article contains some of the most common questions, myths, and answers to

Myth: Bipolar disorder is not manic depression

Fact: Bipolar disorder is just another term for manic depression. Usually people with depression are called unipolar (because they only go to one extreme or ‘pole’) and people with bipolar disorder (manic depression) have two extremes or ‘poles’. Bipolar disorder is further characterized by ratings, which depend on the severity of your mood swings and whether there are other characteristics alongside them.

Myth: You can diagnose bipolar disorder with a blood test

Fact: Not as far as I know. Bipolar disorder has no markers, and while there is some evidence that genetics can track what’s going on, the project to map the human genome is far from complete, and while it’s technically possible to pinpoint markers on a DNA profile, mass testing is a long way off.

Myth: Bipolar disorder is easy to diagnose

Fact: Bipolar disorder, like most other mental health problems, is easy to diagnose given the time and attention of a professional. It’s not always easy, but the best place to go if you suspect you may be bipolar or have any other mental health issues is to go and talk to a doctor. At least they can give you the first go for help.

Myth: Bipolar people are easy to spot/can’t hold down a job

Fact: While it’s true that it’s easier to tell if we’re different when we’re at one of our extremes, not everyone with bipolar becomes really hyper or really depressed. Some of us are as ‘normal’ as the rest of the world. And if the bipolar disorder is under control, then it is not difficult to keep a job. Like everything else, it depends on our triggers and our self-control.

Myth: Bipolar people have an excuse for ‘bad’ behavior.

Fact: We are in control of our reactions like most others, most of the time. Bipolar disorder is no more an excuse to be rude than having a bad day, PMT, or sleep problems. Sometimes our control is stretched a little, especially in times of stress and difficulty, but the fact remains that we can no more justify our bad behavior than anyone else.

Myth: Bipolar people are not aware of how they should behave

Fact: As I said before, bipolar is no different than people dealing with depression or anything else. We have an additional component, but that makes most of us ‘faster’. When we are at one of our extremes, it can be a little harder for us to relate and communicate with them, but we are inherently ‘normal’.

Myth: Moods don’t mix and it’s very easy to judge where someone will be based on what they say and do.

Fact: Some people are very stable bipolar. However, some people, medicated or not, are not stable. These people need help and support until they get back on their feet.

Myth: You can’t get pregnant if you’re bipolar

Fact: I’m a mother of two, although admittedly they didn’t realize I was bipolar until after I had my oldest child. It is true, however, that some of the drugs used to control bipolar disorder are very dangerous and are not suitable for use in pregnancy. It’s always best to discuss any plans that may affect your medications with your doctor or other health care provider.

Bipolar disorder is not fully researched and is not understood as depression. It IS caused by a chemical imbalance. What is more difficult to determine is why this happens and whether it is genetic inheritance or a DNA-level error that sometimes occurs. Bipolar is usually treated with medication, as severe mood swings can be incredibly disruptive and sometimes dangerous.

Much work needs to be done to effectively monitor this illness and much more understanding is needed, as most misconceptions about bipolar disorder cause many misunderstandings and gaps in knowledge. The fight against this should start at the local level; Community encouragement and support and spreading understanding are essential.

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