Myths and Facts About Bipolar Disorder

Dec 13, 2022
Myths and Facts About Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder affects millions of Americans, making it a relatively common mental health issue. Yet there’s still a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation about the disorder. In this post, we dispel some of the more common myths.

Nearly 6 million Americans suffer from bipolar disorder, a mental health disorder associated with significant variability in mood. Today, advances in bipolar treatment make this condition much more manageable, yet for many people, bipolar disorder is still shrouded in mystery and misinformation.

At Revival Infusion Madison in Fitchburg, Wisconsin, certified registered nurse anesthetist Sarah Wilczewski, CRNA, APNP offers innovative ketamine infusion therapy aimed at addressing the underlying chemical changes associated with bipolar disorder. In this post, she dispels a few of the more common myths about the disorder.

Myth: Bipolar disorder is easy to recognize

Bipolar disorder is often mistaken for other medical problems that feature similar symptoms, including depression and anxiety. There is no single medical test that can diagnose bipolar disorder. Instead, there are criteria — specific symptoms — that need to be present in order for your provider to diagnose the disorder and rule out other possible causes.

Bipolar disorder affects different people in different ways, which can make diagnosis even more challenging. Many people with bipolar disorder who do seek treatment do so because of their depressive symptoms, which can also increase the likelihood that they’ll be misdiagnosed with depression rather than bipolar disorder.

Myth: Bipolar “cycles” or “swings” are predictable

Although most people think of bipolar disorder as being either highs or lows, it can cause a wide range of moods, and many people with the disorder will have subtler symptoms that can make diagnosis more challenging. 

When cycles do occur, they’re unpredictable, both in their frequency and intensity. Some people with bipolar disorder may go through periods of rapid “cycling” from highs to lows, while many people have slower mood changes. Others may experience highs and lows at the same time.

Myth: Bipolar disorder “only” affects your mood

Bipolar disorder absolutely causes shifts in your mood, but it can take a toll physically, too. People with bipolar disorder may have changes in appetite or significant problems with sleep. Rapid shifts in energy can take a toll on relationships and employment, as well. 

Some people with bipolar disorder may turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to self-medicate, creating additional health problems.

Myth: Manic episodes help you get more done

There’s no “upside” to manic episodes. While it’s true that mania can bring in periods of intense activity, they can also be associated with increased irritability, anger, and sleep problems, which can make symptoms much worse. Intense activity can also lead to irrational and dangerous behaviors, like risk-taking, that can harm your health in other ways.

Myth: There’s no effective way to treat bipolar disorder

Today, there are lots of treatments for bipolar disorder. Many people benefit from a combination of medications to help stabilize moods, along with psychotherapy aimed at helping them learn better ways to cope with their illness. 

When these treatments aren’t effective, ketamine infusions can help by adjusting chemical imbalances that can cause or worsen symptoms. The key is seeking treatment early, so you can feel better sooner.

Get help for bipolar disorder

Ketamine therapy modulates the production and distribution of a brain chemical called glutamate while optimizing the neural connections associated with mood and mood changes. Typically, it’s recommended for patients who haven’t experienced significant improvement with oral medicines and therapy. 

If that’s been your experience, ketamine therapy could be a good option to help you feel better. To learn more about ketamine infusion therapy for bipolar disorder, call 608-405-6824 or book an appointment online with the team at Revival Infusion Madison today.