Bipolar Disorder Myths

5 Bipolar Disorder Myths, Debunked

Let’s reduce stigma and encourage seeking help.

Between Kanye West’s erratic behaviour scrutinised by the media and misleading depictions in pop culture – Silver Linings Playbook and Law and Order: SVU included – it’s evident that we need to do better when it comes to understanding bipolar disorder. And that’s where World Bipolar Day comes in. Incidentally, March 30 was designated World Bipolar Day to reflect the birthday of artist Vincent Van Gogh, who was posthumously diagnosed with the mood disorder.

The vision of this annual celebration is to bring world awareness to the different types of bipolar disorder (bipolar I and bipolar II being the most common) and improve sensitivity towards the illness. Truly damaging, in this case, are the many widely believed myths that aren’t always true, thereby impacting the social inclusion of those with bipolar disorder. Here, Dr. Rasha Bassim, a Medical Director and Specialist Psychiatrist from Priory Wellbeing Centre in Dubai, tackles the five that persist.

Dr. Rasha Bassim

Myth 1. Bipolar disorder is code for mood swings.

“Mood swings refer to changes in mood from high to low, or vice versa. It is normal for someone’s mood to change, depending on the situation, and for them to experience mood swings to a certain degree. However, extreme mood swings can be characteristic of several mental illnesses, especially when it affects daily life and causes problems in personal and professional relationships.

Bipolar disorder is one of several mental illnesses that manifests in mood swings, such as schizoaffective disorder, cyclothymia, and personality disorders. As a result, detailed and longitudinal history-taking, mental state examination, and psychometric assessments are mandatory for determining the specific mental disorder.”

Myth 2. Only adults are diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

“As a matter of fact, the average age-of-onset of bipolar disorder is about 25, but it can occur during teenage years or, more uncommonly, in childhood.”

Myth 3. The highs (mania) and lows (depression) come like clockwork.

“Not necessarily. The first episode is usually called the index episode. It could be mania or depression. They do not typically happen like clockwork – sometimes, they have no predicted pattern. Bipolar disorder does not just involve mania and/or depression; other clinical presentations like hypomania and mixed episodes can also be common.

Hypomania is a less severe form of mania, whereby patients can display heightened energy or activity level and a mood or behaviour that is usually unrecognisable by their friends and family. Mixed episodes are diagnosed when symptoms of mania and depression occur at the same time or in rapid sequence without recovery in between.”

5 Bipolar Disorder Myths

Myth 4. Bipolar disorder cannot be cured.

“Medication is required to control the symptoms of bipolar disorder, but it is not the only treatment. Doctors also emphasise the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle, avoiding drugs and alcohol, cultivating good sleeping habits, exercising, and successfully managing stress levels in combination with the prescribed medication. While no cure exists for bipolar disorder, it is a treatable and manageable disorder with the help of psychotherapy and medications.

Mood-stabilising medications are usually the first choice in medication. They vary according to the overall clinical picture and type of bipolar disorder, as well as the individual’s medical profile. Bipolar disorder is much better controlled when treatment is continuous. Sometimes, however, mood changes can occur even when someone is being treated, but by immediately reporting to the physician, full-blown episodes may be averted as the treatment will be adjusted.”

Myth 5. People with bipolar disorder are unpredictable – and therefore unreliable.

“Left untreated, the symptoms can be devastating. But extremes are not norms. In fact, people diagnosed with bipolar disorder are exceptionally creative and can live extraordinary lives. Often, for example, they are high achievers in the arts and hold high-level professional roles in the community. Unfortunately, due to stigma and discrimination, the public rarely sees this reality as patients are often afraid to share that they live with bipolar disorder.”


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Revitalise After Feasting: A Post-Thanksgiving Workout Regimen to Recharge Your Body

Revive, Recharge, Thrive

As the Thanksgiving feast fades into fond memories, it’s time to give your body the attention it deserves. In this post-feasting recovery guide, we’ll explore a tailored workout regimen designed to revitalise your body, recharge your energy, and counterbalance the indulgences of the holiday season.

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1. Wake Up the Body with Cardio Bursts:

Kickstart your post-Thanksgiving regimen with invigorating cardio bursts. Whether it’s a brisk morning walk, a jog, or a dance session, get your heart pumping and awaken your body from its food-induced slumber.

2. Core-Strengthening Pilates:

Engage your core muscles with a Pilates session to restore balance and stability. These low-impact exercises are perfect for toning and strengthening, providing a gentle yet effective workout for your post-feast body.

3. Yoga for Digestive Ease:

Explore a sequence of yoga poses designed to aid digestion and promote relaxation. Gentle twists and stretches will help soothe your stomach and release tension, leaving you feeling rejuvenated.

4. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT):

Inject a burst of energy with HIIT exercises to elevate your heart rate and boost your metabolism. Short, intense intervals followed by rest periods are an efficient way to burn off excess calories and jumpstart your fitness routine.

5. Mindful Cool Down with Stretching:

Wind down your workout with mindful stretching. Focus on areas that may have tightened during the holiday festivities, allowing your body to recover and preventing post-feast stiffness.

As you embrace this post-Thanksgiving workout regimen, remember that it’s not about punishment but restoring balance. This curated routine aims to invigorate your body, clear your mind, and set the tone for a healthy and active holiday season. So, lace up those sneakers, roll out the yoga mat, and let’s embark on a journey to revitalise and recharge after the Thanksgiving feast.

Frequently Asked Questions

How soon after Thanksgiving should I start this workout regimen?

The post-Thanksgiving workout regimen can be started as early as the day after the feast. However, listen to your body, and if needed, allow a day or two for digestion before engaging in more intense exercises.

Can I customize the workout routine based on my fitness level?

Absolutely! Tailor the regimen to suit your fitness level and preferences. Modify intensity, duration, or choose alternative exercises to ensure a comfortable and effective workout experience.

Is it necessary to follow the entire workout routine, or can I focus on specific exercises?

Feel free to adapt the regimen to your needs. While the full routine provides a well-rounded approach, you can choose specific exercises based on your preferences or focus on areas that feel particularly tight or in need of attention.


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