Bipolar disorder is more commonly known as manic-depressive illness. It is a brain illness that hampers the day to day activities of individuals and causes shifts in moods, activity and energy levels. Bipolar mood disorder often develops in the late teen years or early adult years of a person's life. It is not an easy disorder to spot because symptoms may appear as separate problems and not part of a larger problem.
In the past, the illness was not considered a serious condition and was considered as a symptom of regular depression. However, research revealed that it is a more serious condition than regular depression and has more severe signs and symptoms such as unrealistic beliefs and suicidal thoughts. Because the illness is not well understood, there are various myths that surround it. The first myth is that people with bipolar mood disorder cannot recover or lead a normal life. The fact is people with this illness can lead normal lives. It is one of the reasons why it takes time to diagnose it. Once diagnosed and treated, an individual can have a successful career, satisfying relationships and lead a happy family life even though living with the disorder is challenging.
Another myth about bipolar mood disorder is that people shift back and forth from mania and depression. Truth is the illness varies from one person to the next and some people alternate between extreme periods of mania and depression. More people however, suffer from depression than mania. Another myth is that the illness only affects moods. The fact is, the disorder affects energy levels, sleep patterns, concentration, judgment, sex drive and self esteem and not only moods. Bipolar mood disorder has also been linked to substance abuse, anxiety, health problems such as migraines, diabetes and high blood pressure.
The last myth surrounding bipolar mood disorder is that it can only be treated through medication. The truth is mediation is the basis of treatment but self help strategies can also help. These strategies include, regular exercise, getting enough sleep, monitoring your moods, eating right, minimizing stress and surrounding yourself with supportive people. The illness has no cure but can be treated by combining psychotherapy, lifestyle changes, social support and medication to avoid relapse. In most case people suffer from bipolar mood disorder for years before proper diagnosis and treatment is made. Since it is a long term illness, once diagnosed it should be managed throughout a person's life.