Myths and Facts About Bipolar Disorder

Myths and Facts About Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, or BPD, is characterized by a number of symptoms that might lead people around an affected person to believe that person is excited or sad. Episodes of BPD are mild for some, but severe for many others. Severe BPD can seriously affect someone’s relationships, their work life, and their ability to care for themselves. 

Amir Ahuja, MD understands the importance of a nuanced and holistic approach to treating patients living with BPD. Mood changes are normal in any person, but Dr. Ahuja is experienced in determining the subtle differences between normal changes in mood and behavior, and a possible diagnosis of BPD. 

Understanding BPD more widely is important to appreciating how difficult it can be to live with this disease, and how it can so deeply affect someone’s life and those around them. 

What is bipolar disorder?

BPD is a common mental illness, affecting roughly 2.3% of Americans, and over 60 million people globally. You’re more likely to live with BPD if you have a family history — four to six times more likely. This doesn’t mean a family history alone will guarantee you’ll have the disease. You can develop BPD with no family history, or be unaffected when your parents are affected. 

What you may not know is that sometimes, the way that a brain is structured can make a person susceptible to BPD. So can extreme stress, trauma, or physical illness. 

Myth: There’s only one way to display BPD symptoms

BPD is a combination of symptoms of varying degrees. Typically, a person living with BPD will experience periods of extreme energy and excitability, followed by a depressive episode. However, the patterns, frequency, and severity of these moods may fall into one of several categories:

Bipolar I

This is when a person has at least one manic episode, meaning, a period of high energy and excitability.

Bipolar II

Bipolar II indicates at least one hypomanic episode. Hypomania is a less severe type of manic episode, where someone’s excitability is elevated, instead of extreme.  

Cyclothymic disorder

The stereotypical image of BPD as a person who suddenly goes from excited to sad probably comes from this form. Here, a person cycles quickly in and out of extreme mood changes. 

Myth: The treatments for BPD are all the same

Actually, treating BPD can take a little extra effort because treatment is tailored to the individual. Dr. Ahuja is an experienced and compassionate professional who understands that BPD can take several steps to diagnose with certainty, and then require some work to find the proper combination of medications and psychotherapies. Antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers are commonly used to treat this condition.

Once Dr. Ahuja has established a treatment plan, you should stick to it, including any standing appointments with him.

Myth: BPD affects more men than women

Some may be surprised to know that BPD affects men (assigned male at birth) and women (assigned female at birth) in nearly-equal numbers. The biggest difference in BPD between the two main sexes is the age at which they’re typically diagnosed: women tend to receive their diagnoses by age 30, while for men, it’s usually later.   

Myth: BPD can be cured

There’s no known cure for BPD. However, sticking to a schedule for work, sleep, and exercise, along with taking your medication as prescribed, can help you manage your symptoms. As mentioned, it’s extremely important to attend any standing appointments with Dr. Ahuja. Your treatment for BPD will need to be thorough and long-lasting for you to live your best life. 

If you’ve been living with irritability, restlessness, emptiness, or hopelessness that won’t go away, contact our office. Dr. Ahuja is available to assist you in your journey to positive outcomes for your mental health. Call us at 310-426-8938, or book an appointment online today.   

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