Exposing the Stigma of Bipolar Disorder

As the term “bipolar” continues to be thrown around on a daily basis referring to someone who is experiencing a minor mood swing, it becomes increasingly more relevant that we set boundaries for the term. Bipolar disorder is a manic-depressive illness that affects the brain, causing abrupt changes in mood and activity levels. Bipolar disorder often affects ones ability to continue or complete daily tasks. Bipolar disorder does not refer to common mood swings. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), there are approximately 5.7 million individuals suffering from bipolar disorder in the United States, with the majority of them not receiving the appropriate treatment.

Published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) updated its defining terms of bipolar disorder in its fifth edition. Before the latest DSM edition, bipolar disorder and depression were not classified in their own chapter, rather, they were both added to the “Moods Disorders” chapter. The four unique categories for classifying bipolar disorder include:

DSM-5’s List of the Different Types of Bipolar Disorder:

  • Bipolar I Disorder
  • Bipolar II Disorder
  • Other Specified Bipolar & Related Disorder
  • Cyclothymia or Cyclothymic Disorder

Typically, symptoms of bipolar disorder appear during an individual’s mid-20s, however, some have started experiencing symptoms as early as childhood. While some cases may be more apparent than others, typically, individuals suffering from bipolar disorder remain improperly diagnosed and untreated for several years.

As a depressive disorder, bipolar disorder can affect anyone. Bipolar disorder is a nondiscriminatory ailment that sees no race, age, or gender. As featured in Health Magazine and Health.com, there are celebrities who have been able to find success despite their bipolar disorder, through the help of a strong support system, medication, and treatment. These celebrities include Catherine Zeta-Jones (Bipolar II Disorder), Demi Lovato, Britney Spears, Kurt Cobain, Marilyn Monroe, Sinead O’Connor, Vincent van Gogh, Carrie Fisher, Emily Dickinson, and Linda Hamilton.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder Include:

  • Insomnia or inability to sleep
  • Hyperactive thought process, including talking at a fast pace and abruptly changing conversation topic
  • Tendency to be easily distracted
  • Restlessness
  • Illogical standards for one’s abilities
  • Impulsive behaviors
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Inability to remember things
  • Indecisiveness
  • Feelings of worry or helplessness
  • Increased Irritability
  • Changes in appetite
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

If you or anyone you know is experiencing the above symptoms, seek treatment immediately. At Inspire Malibu, we recognize that although there is no evidence explaining the connection, those suffering from bipolar disorder typically seek relief through drugs and/or alcohol. This lethal combination often further complicates bipolar disorder and can sometimes extend bipolar episodes.

Many treatment centers mistakenly only prescribe their bipolar patients with antidepressants; however, a report published in AJP in Advanced on June 17th shows that monotherapy for those suffering from bipolar disorder may result in manic episodes. At Inspire Malibu, we determine the best combination of treatment solutions for each patient. The best results occur when a patient is taking the right medications in combination with the right forms of therapy.

As a dual diagnosis treatment center, we are able to treat those suffering from co-occurring disorders such as bipolar disorder and addiction. With experienced physicians credentialed in both areas, we are able to thoroughly evaluate your particular situation and provide you with exclusive treatment solutions. The individual treatment plan customized to meet your unique needs will allow you to conquer your co-occurring disorder.




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