These Misconceptions About People with Bipolar Disorder Need to Stop

December 3rd 2016

Laura Donovan

Bipolar disorder has gotten a lot of attention in the public eye in recent years, especially, as a number of famous figures have come forward about their own battles with it. Actress Carrie Fisher and singer Demi Lovato have recently spoken at length about living with the mental illness, which affects close to 6 million American adults.

However, there are still a lot of misconceptions about what it means to live with bipolar disorder, which the National Institute of Mental Health defines as "a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks."

Some unfairly clarify those with the disorder as "crazy" or "psycho," according to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA).

But this attitude further stigmatizes the mental illness and also overlooks the fact that many people with bipolar disorder can manage it through proper treatment. The DBSA found that close to nine out of 10 people with bipolar disorder are happy with the medicine they take for it, despite any possible side effects. ATTN: noted this statistic in a recent video about bipolar stereotypes:

Though mental health issues can pose challenges for those in the workforce, people with a mental illness can maintain a stable job.

"Many people with bipolar disorder hold down jobs — although they may suffer emotionally. Some also work very hard to monitor their thoughts and moods," Nando Pelusi, Ph.D., licensed clinical psychologist, wrote in a November 2007 piece for Psychology Today. She noted that a "combination of medication and good cognitive restructuring" can help people with bipolar disorder hold down jobs and live well-rounded lives.

"Appropriate medication and psychotherapy are a key part of treatment," Pelusi continued.

Natasha Tracy, author of "Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression and Bipolar," wrote in a September 2013 piece for Healthy Place that people with bipolar disorder may face challenges at work, but that they can survive whatever they endure by working hard and taking care of themselves as necessary.

Understanding your needs so you can work well and be mentally healthy is key to holding down a job, Tracy wrote in Healthy Place:

"When you need to take time off, understand that you don’t need to say why you’re sick, only that you are. It’s perfectly okay to need to take time for a psychiatrist’s appointment in many workplaces but you don’t need to tell people that’s what you’re doing. When you need to take time off because you’re too depressed, you don’t need to tell anyone that’s why you’re staying home – you just need to say that you’re sick. The details are your business."

Check out ATTN:'s full video below on bipolar stereotypes and stigmas: