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Debunking Treatment Myths Around Bipolar Disorder

Debunking Treatment Myths Around Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that affects many people around the world. It is estimated that 1-4% of the US population has bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder may be more common than most people think, but it’s talked about very little in our society.

As a result, several myths have been created about bipolar disorder and its treatment. This is quite harmful to the collective mental health of our country. These myths stigmatize and discourage people from getting help. 

This is why it’s so important to be educated about mental health issues and spread the facts around. Helping other people learn the truth about bipolar disorder and its treatment reduces the stigma. Reducing stigma means better access to the care people need to achieve recovery and live a happy and healthy life.

Myth #1: Bipolar Disorder Cannot Be Treated

There are, in fact, several treatment options available to help people with bipolar disorder. Places like Acera Health provide a wide range of treatments to help clients find the right combinations to help them. Common examples of treatments for bipolar disorder include:

Prescription medication: People with bipolar disorder can be prescribed medication depending on the type of bipolar disorder they live with. The most common types of medicines prescribed for this disorder are lithium, antipsychotics, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants. 

Behavioral treatment: These treatments have the goal of helping someone with bipolar disorder make healthy life changes to help them cope with their condition. Common types of treatments include psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), family/group therapy, and psychoeducation.

Alternative treatment: Sometimes, someone with bipolar disorder benefits from alternative forms of treatment. A good example is transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), which uses magnetic pulses to help parts of the brain that are not functioning correctly. Some may also benefit from electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), a brain stimulation treatment that can help relieve symptoms.

Myth #2: All Types of Bipolar Disorder Are the Same

There are three types of bipolar disorder. Each affects those that struggle with them in different ways. These are:

Bipolar I: This is defined by manic episodes that last at least seven days or are severe enough to require hospital care. Sometimes someone with bipolar I may have depressive episodes that can last at least two weeks. Episodes experienced can sometimes be mixed.

Bipolar II: This is mostly defined by depressive episodes. Instead of manic episodes, someone can experience hypomania. This is a less severe version of mania.

Cyclothymia: This type of bipolar disorder involves depressive and hypomanic symptoms. They are not as intense or long-lasting as true hypomanic or depressive episodes. 

Myth #3: Getting Treatment Means Getting Locked Up or Losing Your Creativity

When someone receives treatment for bipolar disorder, they have the same rights as anyone else getting treatment. Just because you have bipolar disorder doesn’t mean you will get locked up like a dangerous animal. You still have the right to choose your method of treatment and the right to choose your treatment providers. 

Places like Acera Health offer residential treatment services. This is when someone can live at a mental health treatment facility and get specialized treatment away from daily stress and triggers. However, these treatments are elective, not mandatory. The only time someone would ever be hospitalized against their will is if they are an immediate threat to the safety of their life or others.

Another myth to be addressed is the idea that if you are a creative person (like an artist, musician, etc.), you will lose your creativity when you get treatment and medication. This is not true. There are many artists out there that still produce beautiful and meaningful work because they feel better after treatment. 

Treatment allows those with bipolar disorder to be able to express their creativity without being weighed down by their episodes. One of the most important paintings of all time, “Starry Night,” is an example of this. It was painted by Vincent van Gogh when he looked outside of the window of his room when he checked himself in for mental health treatment. Beauty and art can be found anywhere, even during treatment and after. 

Myth #4: You Can Only Have One Mental Health Disorder at a Time

What makes bipolar disorder difficult to treat sometimes is how common co-occurring mental health disorders are. Many people with bipolar disorder can also struggle with other types of disorders. The most common are anxiety disorders, substance use disorder (SUD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and even eating disorders. 

When being evaluated for bipolar disorder, it’s important to be honest with your treatment provider. Doing so helps them determine if you have a co-occurring disorder or not. This can often change the direction of treatment, as each disorder must be taken into account. For example, some types of medications should never be mixed because they can be dangerous. Being honest not only helps your treatment provider, but yourself as well.

Myth #5: Treatment Can Cure Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a disorder that has no cure. Those that promise a miracle procedure or drug to “cure” bipolar disorder are frauds looking to take advantage of vulnerable people. Instead, the goal is to achieve recovery. Recovery is when you can live with your disorder and not have it rule your life. Those that recover from bipolar disorder need to be aware of their disorder, but by then, they have learned to manage their condition to the point that they can be happy and healthy.

However, recovery cannot begin without reaching out for help. Call your local mental health care facility today if you believe you are struggling with bipolar disorder.

People often don’t think or talk about bipolar disorder, which can shroud this condition in myth. Myths, however, can be dangerous and prevent people from seeking the help they need to manage their condition. Perhaps the most harmful myth of all is that those with bipolar disorder can never get better. Here at Acera Health in Costa Mesa, California, we know that this is not true. Anyone can learn to recover from this disorder and live a happy, healthy life despite having a chronic condition. Before anyone can recover, they must first seek treatment. If you or someone you love is struggling with bipolar disorder, or believe they may have it, don’t wait. Call (949) 647-4090 today.

Mickey Webb
Mickey Webb
Marketing Director at Acer Health

Mickey has dedicated nearly 10 years of marketing for various industries with his superior networking, negotiation, and leadership skills. He has over 5 years of management experience including corporate with AT&T. In 2019, he began serving the healthcare industry. He is devoted to establishing promotion and advertising efforts for Acera, to help families and individuals better understand the services we provide. He has strong interpersonal skills, and helps Acera build brand awareness within the behavioral health field. Mickey has helped many individuals find placement in treatment, and will go to any length to make sure they receive the care they deserve.


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