Bipolar Disorder Misconceptions (Therapy Discussion)


Bipolar disorder is a condition that hinders proper function due to the constant elevated moods. But it is not all there is. Since it is a common disorder, people often get misconceptions. Here are some of the things they somehow misunderstood.

There’s Only Depressive Or Manic Episode In Bipolar Disorders

This belief is false because people can have mixed episodes of the condition. There are cases such as a bipolar 2 disorder where people won’t reach the level of full-blown mania. Instead, they settle on the stage called hypomania. It is a lower grade mania that is a different state of the condition where people feel different. It is more complicated and complex, and teenagers can have hypomanic and depressive episodes at the same time. It can make them feel very uncomfortable, frustrated and irritable, due to the grandiose thoughts. The condition makes them excited and feel bad about themselves at the same time.



Mood Swings Are Caused By Bipolar Disorder

For the record, mood swings are not bipolar disorder. To be able to get diagnosed with any types of bipolar disorder, kids should have this grandiose sense of self and extreme feeling of happiness. The full-blown mania must occur at least once a week to see the permeated unbreakable symptoms. There should be continued hypomanic episodes within a specific span of days. Regarding major depressive episode, there should have at least five of its criteria that should last for about 2 weeks. Kids’ mood swings during the day are considerably not a sign of having a bipolar disorder.

“People with bipolar disorder will swing from a manic state to a depressed state. During a depression, some people have trouble sleeping while others sleep more than usual.” – Kathleen Cairns, PsyD

Bipolar 2 State Is A Milder Form Of Bipolar Disorder

It is not true because the thing about a bipolar 2 disorder is that it doesn’t reach full-blown mania. However, it stays in a depressive episode for a much more extended period. And because a lot of people somehow don’t reach the craze, they don’t often see it as a complication. As a result, they go out on years without diagnosis and treatment. Since depression is a prominent part of a bipolar 2 disorder, the mental condition severely impairs the overall function. It affects the kids’ ability to interact with people.


“With bipolar I, there is an inconsistency in terms of mood that is typically comprised of especially high highs and especially low lows.” – Sally Winston, PsyD

All Bipolar Disorders Have Mania

That’s not true. That’s because some bipolar 2 patients never reach full-blown mania. They can only experience the lower grade hypomania. Majority of their time are stuck in depressive episodes which they feel extreme sadness, irritability, and anxiety. In some instances, they somehow pretty much get excited about things and eventually lose the interests after completing a specific task. Though the symptoms are somehow comparable to clinical depression, it differs in a way that bipolar disorder excels more on a lot of social interaction.

Kids Who Are Diagnosed With Bipolar Disorder Can’t Function

That’s not true at all. People who have mental illness are capable of living and overcoming their conditions. Once kids get the right support that they need, they can generally do the things they use to do. Although there might be some restrictions on some cases, still they are capable of achieving great things.

Do not worry because according to Beth Esposito, MS, LPCC-S, LSW, “Depression is a treatable illness.”

There is no cure for bipolar disorder as of the moment, but the combination of therapy and medication can somehow minimize its long-term effects. It is much better to get a diagnosis as early as possible.


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