5 Myths about Bipolar Disorder That Boost Stigma
When therapist Colleen King was 19 years old, a psychiatrist told her that because of her family history—her father and brother having bipolar disorder—she shouldn’t have children. Today, King’s clients regularly tell her that people have told them they shouldn’t or can’t have loving relationships. Sadly, these are just two of the many myths about bipolar disorder. Myths that needlessly boost stigma, and, as King noted, deny individuals with bipolar disorder love and connection. Bipolar disorder is a difficult illness, which can create challenges. But kids and healthy, happy relationships are absolutely possible when both partners are educated about the illness and have an effective treatment team (that includes a therapist and doctor) and support network, said King, LMFT, who has a private practice in Sacramento, Calif. It’s critical for everyone to know that. And it’s critical for everyone to know the facts behind the below sadly all-too common, stigma-perpetuating myths. Myth: People with bipolar disorder can control their moods if they really want to. Fact: According to Candida Fink, MD, a board-certified child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist, this is the most stigmatizing myth of all. Many in the public think that if people with bipolar disorder simply adopted more positive thoughts, worked out, ate the right foods and “got off the couch and did something,” they could stop their symptoms, she said. And if the...
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