What are the Stigmas Associated with Bipolar Disorder?

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Mental health awareness is growing in our society. People are learning about different conditions by educating themselves and going to therapy. Many other mental health conditions continue to be misunderstood. Bipolar disorder is one of them. Bipolar disorder is a condition characterized by two states – mania and depression. A person who has bipolar vacillates between these two, and in between, they have periods of stability where they’re neither manic nor depressed. A person with bipolar disorder can face a lot of stigma from society. Many people don’t understand what it’s like to be bipolar. Some individuals joke about mania, playfully calling someone “manic”. It’s crucial to learn about bipolar disorder so you’re not unintentionally offending those who live with the condition. If you’re interested in learning more about bipolar, you can read about it on BetterHelp. In the meantime, here are some of the stigmas that people with bipolar disorder face.

“You’re so bipolar.”

People use the term bipolar colloquially. They may playfully call somebody who is being moody this word. People say, “you’re acting bipolar” when someone gets angry out of the blue and then calms down quickly. Some people experience bursts of anger, not because they have bipolar disorder. It’s crucial to note that there is a difference between normal moodiness and bipolar disorder. Somebody can be grumpy and not be bipolar. An individual could experience depression and not have bipolar. It’s critical not to generalize when it comes to mental health issues. Bipolar disorder is a severe condition that should not be trivialized and compared to moodiness. If you hear somebody say to another person that they are so bipolar, it’s crucial that you tell them the implications of making that causal statement. The more we fight against stigma, the better.

“People with bipolar disorder are crazy.”

Some people (unfamiliar with bipolar disorder) assume that people with the condition are unstable. When a person is manic, they can have the following symptoms: racing thoughts, rapid speech, hypersexuality, reckless driving, gambling, and substance abuse. These are only some of the signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, when people are behaving this way, some people misinterpret the behaviors as “crazy.” First of all, crazy is an offensive word to people who are living with mental illness. It’s a meaningless term that stigmatizes them. People with bipolar disorder are experiencing a shift in mood that impacts their ability to function normally. If you hear someone call a person with mental illness “crazy,” it’s crucial to set them straight. Let that individual know that mental disorders are nothing to joke about, and people should take them seriously.

“People who have bipolar are violent.”

Many people believe that individuals with bipolar are out of control and aggressive. It’s unfair to assume that people with bipolar disorder are violent. That is a stigma that we need to address. One reason individuals assume this is one of the symptoms of bipolar disorder can be anger or irritability. Anyone who experiences rage can get aggressive or violent if they have anger management issues. But, it’s not the case with every person with bipolar disorder. Some people don’t get irritability or anger as a symptom. Others get angry and know how to channel it. Some individuals legitimately have anger problems that can result in dangerous consequences. If you have an anger management problem, you must get help from a mental health professional. 

“All people with bipolar disorder always end up hospitalized.”

Bipolar disorder can result in hospitalization if mania or depression is severe. Some people realize that they’re a danger to themselves or others. In those cases, it’s crucial to go to the emergency room or get to an urgent care near me. That way, a medical team can evaluate the person and make sure they get the proper mental health care. There are plenty of people with bipolar disorder who don’t need to be hospitalized. They can manage their condition by seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist. They’re under the care of a medical team that manages their moods and medication. Sure, some individuals may have short hospital stays, and others may be admitted for long periods. But, that’s not the case with every individual with bipolar disorder.

Seek help for bipolar disorder in therapy

If you have bipolar disorder, you need to see a mental health professional. If someone you love has the condition, you can encourage them to see a therapist and their general doctor get referrals to appropriate treatment. When you have bipolar disorder, there are times when people make assumptions about your condition. The stigma of bipolar is real, but we need to address these issues. The more you learn about yourself in therapy, the more clarity you’ll get about what it’s really like to have bipolar disorder. Your emotional insight is invaluable. For one thing, it can help you live a fulfilling life. Additionally, it can support you in educating others about bipolar disorder. That way, you’re doing your part to help eradicate the stigma.

Photo Credit – Photo by Nick Fewings

Author Credit – Marie Miguel Biography

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.