Myths and Facts About Bipolar Disorder

Sep 06, 2023
Myths and Facts About Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is often misunderstood, which means those suffering from the condition don’t get the support and empathy they need. This blog debunks some of the most common myths about bipolar disorder and helps you understand the facts.

At Potomac Shores Mental Health and Wellness in Woodbridge, Virginia, our team is committed to promoting mental health awareness and providing accurate information to help you navigate complicated conditions. 

Bipolar disorder is one of these complex mental health challenges that affects about 2.8% of adults in any given year. Many myths exist about bipolar disorder, leading to misconceptions that hinder support and empathy for those affected. 

At Potomac Shores Mental Health and Wellness, we're committed to dispelling these myths and shedding light on the authentic experiences of individuals living with bipolar disorder. 

Myth: Bipolar disorder is just mood swings

Fact: Bipolar disorder is far more than just occasional mood swings. 

While mood swings are a component of the condition, bipolar disorder involves extreme and prolonged shifts in mood, energy levels, and behavior. These shifts, known as episodes, can be severe and disruptive, impacting various aspects of a person's life.

Mood swings alternate from the intense highs of mania, characterized by elevated energy, impulsivity, and a heightened sense of self, to the profound lows of depression, marked by excessive sadness and a sense of hopelessness. 

These emotional extremes can be disorienting and disruptive, affecting not only the individual but also their relationships and daily functioning. 

Myth: Bipolar disorder affects only mood 

Fact: Bipolar disorder doesn't solely affect mood.


Bipolar disorder also influences a person's energy levels, cognitive functioning, and even physical health. During manic episodes, individuals may experience heightened energy, impulsivity, and racing thoughts. They can take abnormal, dangerous risks that endanger their safety. 

Conversely, depressive episodes can lead to feelings of sadness, fatigue, and lack of interest in activities once enjoyed. Severe depressive episodes may be characterized by thoughts of self-harm.

Myth: Everyone with bipolar disorder experiences the same symptoms 

Fact: Bipolar disorder is a spectrum, meaning that individuals may experience varying symptoms and degrees of severity. 

Some people may primarily have manic episodes, while others may predominantly experience depressive episodes. The type and intensity of symptoms can differ widely among individuals.

Myth: Bipolar disorder cannot be managed 

Fact: While bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, it can be effectively managed with proper treatment. 

A combination of medication, therapy, lifestyle adjustments, and support from mental health professionals can help people with bipolar disorder lead fulfilling lives. With the right strategies in place, people with bipolar disorder can experience periods of stability and well-being.

Myth: People with bipolar disorder are always extreme 

Fact: While bipolar disorder involves extreme mood shifts, not all individuals experience constant extremes. 

Some may have periods of relative stability between episodes. It's important to recognize that bipolar disorder presents differently in each person and can involve a range of experiences.

Understanding the facts about bipolar disorder is essential for promoting empathy, reducing stigma, and supporting those affected by the condition. If you or someone you know is struggling with bipolar disorder, remember that help is available. 

At Potomac Shores Mental Health and Wellness, our compassionate team is dedicated to providing personalized care and guidance to individuals dealing with bipolar disorder and other mental health challenges. Call us at 571-601-4425 or book online today to schedule your appointment to learn more about our services.