Roughly 4.4% of Americans are diagnosed with bipolar disorder during their lifetimes, which means this particular health issue is not nearly as uncommon as many people think. In fact, every year, nearly 8 million American men and women are diagnosed with the disorder.
Despite these numbers, bipolar disorder is still widely misunderstood — even by the loved ones of those diagnosed with the condition. Unfortunately, the misunderstandings surrounding bipolar disorder can interfere with treatment for many people; that’s why taking the time to separate myth from fact is so essential.
As a leading provider of bipolar disorder treatment for patients in Manhattan and Brooklyn, New York, Mark Rybakov, DO, is committed to helping patients and their loved ones understand the disorder and the way it affects people’s lives. In this post, he dispels some of the most common myths that could be preventing you or a loved one from seeking treatment and getting better.
Fact: Although the statistics above are for men and women diagnosed with bipolar disorder, kids and adolescents can be affected, too. Regardless of age, the effects of bipolar disorder can be disruptive and devastating, taking a toll on a child’s school performance, their ability to socialize and form friendships, and ultimately, their self-esteem.
Fact: The idea that mental health issues are largely attributable to diet and lifestyle habits isn’t just wrong — it perpetuates feelings of guilt and self-doubt that plague many people who struggle with bipolar disorder or other emotional health issues.
The fact is, bipolar disorder is a real medical problem that requires medical treatment. It’s not caused by poor lifestyle choices, food allergies, or other decisions that are under a person’s control.
Fact: Mania is a time of excessive energy — and who wouldn’t want that? Being “hyped up” means you can be more productive while your mood stays elevated… Right? In fact, that’s not at all what mania is.
Excess energy is part of mania, but that energy is often hard to control and direct. Plus, it’s typically accompanied by feelings of moodiness, irritability, increased anxiety, and difficulty concentrating or focusing. The manic phase can also be punctuated by risky behaviors and poor judgment that can take a serious toll on your life and general well-being.
Fact: Many people think of bipolar in terms of the extremes — a repetitive cycle of obvious highs and lows that are easy to spot and predict. But bipolar symptoms are unpredictable, and they can be very subtle, which can make diagnosis challenging.
What’s more, depressive symptoms and mania can sometimes occur together, and not everyone experiences the same type of bipolar disorder. Dr. Rybakov’s experience treating bipolar disorder enables him to identify symptoms and optimize every treatment plan to suit these subtle differences.
Fact: There is no single test to diagnose bipolar disorder. Instead, Dr. Rybakov uses established medical guidelines, interviews, and an in-depth review of your symptoms and your medical history to make the diagnosis.
Fact: Advances in our understanding of bipolar disorder and how it responds to medications and therapy mean that today, patients have many options for successfully managing their symptoms. In addition to newer, more effective medications, most treatment plans include talk therapy to help patients learn new, healthy behaviors, coupled with lifestyle changes to support optimal physical and emotional well-being.
Working with Dr. Rybakov, you’ll benefit from an individualized treatment plan that’s tailored to your needs and evolves with your symptoms and lifestyle factors over time. Ongoing visits ensure your medications and therapy stay on track, so you can manage your symptoms and enjoy a calmer, healthier lifestyle.
To learn more about bipolar treatment at our New York City offices, book an appointment online or over the phone with Dr. Rybakov today.