Sufferers of mental illness and specifically bipolar disorder (BPD) have long been victims of the seriously limited understanding of depression and mood disorders, conveyed by the general public, resulting in negative associations attached to suffering from disorders which are undoubtedly biological in origin. Just as our bodies are susceptible to illnesses and disease; so too is our delicate human mind.
The main difference between health concerns that affect one's body when compared to those relating to the mind, is definitely the stigma attached to them. Significant numbers of people live in shame with mental health problems or personality disorders instead of being encouraged to seek diagnosis or treatment. Concern about ridicule and disgrace, combined with most people being misinformed about potential treatments results in illnesses that are left untreated.
The bipolar definition and how it applies to bipolar disorder Bipolar Disorder is a particularly good example of a disorder that is subjected to far more misconception than fact. The term bipolar itself is a unique term that basically implies two opposing spectrums. As it relates to the mental health arena it is the term used to describe two opposing emotional states. Thus, bipolar disorder can be defined as an all-consuming exhibition of depression, and it's polar opposite, mania.
The public mistakenly identifies bipolar disorder as moodiness; or a person that goes from happy to very sad instantly. If this were the case, everyone on this earth would possibly be considered Bipolar. However, Healthy people who do not suffer from BPD are subject to constantly fluctuating emotional behavior.
Take for example, one fine day you may decide to take your dogs for a walk. It makes you feel good. Alas, A truck drives by and you get soaked from the wet road splashing up on your newly washed jumpsuit. You curse at the careless driver and resign to the fact you will be washing your clothes again on returning home. You continue your walk, and a few minutes later your mood has once more elevated. You're not as happy as you started out and you are still a little frustrated about getting wet from the puddle. But you have pretty much gotten over your anger and will be able to move forward with your day. Your emotional reactions, even though they transformed quite quickly, are balanced and appropriate. And your emotional upheaval on this fine morning has not impeded your ability to continue walking your dog or getting on with the rest of your day.
On the other hand, sufferers of BPD are incapable of balancing their emotional response to the world in which they live. Their responses will quite often seem out of context and inappropriate. Depression; feelings of sadness, loneliness, gloom and distance from others often overwhelm them. Mania being the polar opposite of depression results in abundance of energy, inability to sleep, enthusiastic and dizzyingly happy mood states which may not mirror their life's circumstances and be inappropriate responses to what is going on around them.
However, Mania does not always exhibited as happiness. For sufferers of mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder manic episodes may make them feel more excitable but it may be exhibited more as irrational moods, frustration and anger as opposed to being happily euphoric. It's this inability to control the elevated feelings that signify mania.
In the past, bipolar disorder was labeled as manic depression, a descriptive name that quickly conveyed the polarity of this illness. However this term is not an apt description of all the different varieties of bipolar disorder, some of which do not display any signs of mania. The true nature of the bipolar definition is a state where the fundamental emotional imbalance impedes with daily living, relationships and the ability to respond to situations appropriately.
Nevertheless, the misconception that there is no appropriate treatment for bipolar 'symptoms, thrives. Which is tragic as today's therapies range from mood stabilizing medications through to counseling with highly trained professional psychologists. With properly supervised treatments, patients with this affliction engage in healthy personal relationships, and are able to work, live and interact with society, without being overwhelmed by imbalanced emotions and feelings.