Bipolar Myths & Facts

Myth: A person with bipolar disorder has a split personality

Fact: People living with bipolar disorder do not have a split personality. The ‘bi’ refers to the fact that those living with this condition can experience extreme mood swings commonly referred to as ‘mania’ and ‘depression’. The older term for bipolar disorder is ‘manic depression’.

Myth: Bipolar disorder is a character weakness

Fact: Bipolar disorder is a serious illness that requires intervention, care and treatment. The behaviours associated with the manic phase of bipolar disorder can often include outbursts of anger, reckless spending or gambling, inability to focus on one goal or achievement, inappropriate sexual activity or delusions of grandeur or invincibility. These are symptoms of an illness and not reflections of a character.

Myth: Bipolar disorder can be overcome by ‘snapping out of it’

Fact: Bipolar disorder is a real and serious illness that affects a person’s normal brain functioning. Just as a person with diabetes cannot just ‘snap out’ of diabetes, so a person with bipolar disorder will not overcome the illness through denial. Acceptance of the diagnosis will help the individual manage the illness effectively through treatment and other recovery options.

Myth: Bipolar disorder can be cured

Fact: There is currently no cure for bipolar disorder but it is a serious illness that can be managed and treated. There is a high rate of recovery. There is hope.