Bipolar Disorder: 10 Things I Want People Who Care for Me To Understand

10 things about bipolar

A serious, misunderstood mental illness that causes dramatic shifts in mood, energy and activity levels. Bipolar Disorder affects a lot of people. The typical symptoms of Bipolar Disorder are alternating phases of depression and mania, characterised by feeling extremely low, and being extremely high and/or happy respectively.

A person suffering diagnosed with Bipolar often has many thoughts racing through his/her head, at any point of time. Like other mental illnesses, in some cultures Bipolar Disorder still comes with stigma associated with it, which prevents people suffering from it, from discussing it and seeking professional help. However, there are a few things that one must keep in mind regarding the disorder, that might come in handy if you’re trying to help someone combat the illness.



  1. People with Bipolar Disorder are not ticking time bombs. Yes, there is a degree of unpredictability with regards to behaviour, but that doesn’t mean there is no telling what a Bipolar person will do next. Being more understanding and sympathetic towards people suffering from this disorder will happen only if a person realises that someone suffering from Bipolar Disorder is not totally unpredictable.
  2. Its just not about the high’s and lows. People suffering from Bipolar Disorder sometimes have hallucinations and paranoia. There are a number of symptoms associated with the illness, and not all of them deal with depression and mania. In fact, the sufferer may experience extended periods of relative stability between each episode.
  3. Medication may or may not work. When it comes to treating Bipolar Disorder, there is no one size fits all policy. The combination of different drugs helps combat the illness. To arrive at this combination might take some time. During this period, the patient & doctor must work together for the best possible chance of effective treatment.
  4. Bipolar disorder cannot be beaten by sheer will. You cannot tell someone “aren’t you even trying to feel better?”. If they could beat it with will power, they would. The disorder is treatable with medication and therapy, administered by a professional, coupled with family support and a willingness from the patient to commit to a care plan.
  5. Episodes can last for days or weeks and change in an instant. Depressive states can go on, only to be suddenly replaced by phases of intense mania. There is no telling when one phase will end and the other will begin. This contributes to the unpredictability of the illness.
  6. Bipolar disorder doesn’t make someone inherently violent. There is a higher chance of a Bipolar person being at the receiving end of violence due to the little knowledge people have of this illness.
  7. Once the medication combination has been worked out completely, following it religiously is a whole different game. Regularity needs to be maintained in the consumption pattern so the pills work effectively.
  8. Relationships are hard. For someone suffering from Bipolar Disorder, maintaining relationships with friends, loved one’s and colleagues is extremely difficult. Since relationships nowadays are so fragile, the person is always anxious thinking about what can go wrong.
  9. Its hard to finish one thing at a time. This especially holds true in cases of mania. The person will seem to be very productive, picking up new hobbies almost immediately but dropping those hobbies as soon as the mania stage is over.
  10. Treatment takes time and effort. It takes the joint effort of both the patient and his/her loved one’s to combat Bipolar Disorder. There are many patients who drop out of treatment or stop taking their medication. These are the one’s who run into trouble most of the time. Investing the time and effort for effective treatment of Bipolar Disorder is paramount.

Bipolar disorder thus causes dramatic shifts in mood. A person needs the support of his/her loved one’s to combat this illness effectively. If the right combination of drugs, talking therapy and support are hit upon however, there’s no reason as to why Bipolar Disorder cannot be treated effectively.

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