12 Bipolar Disorder Facts You Might Not Know!

Posted January 29, 2021 by Michael Chamberlain - See Editorial Guidelines

We’ve been exploring several bipolar disorder facts and have included the bipolar disorder facts that we think you should know about and that not everyone talks about.

Let’s first start by reviewing what bipolar is so that we can better understand the facts that accompany the disorder.

What is Bipolar?

12 Bipolar Disorder Facts

According to the American Psychiatric Association, bipolar disorders are brain disorders that cause changes in a person’s mood, energy, and ability to function.

People with bipolar have extreme and intense emotional states. However, those with bipolar generally have periods of normal moods, and the good news is that bipolar disorder can be treated.

Bipolar Disorder Facts

Here’s our list of key bipolar disorder facts that we think you need to know.

1. There are three types of bipolar 

There are three different types of bipolar, with all of them involving episodes of depression and mania. The three types that patients might be diagnosed with are: 

  • Bipolar I – dramatic mood swings with more severe manic episodes. Individuals can often feel uncomfortably irritable during their manic episodes.
  • Bipolar II – patients will still have manic episodes, but they are less severe. Individuals are likely to experience more depressive symptoms in this stage.
  • Cyclothymic disorder – fairly constant mood swings, but they are less severe, so patients are often not diagnosed with bipolar yet.

Examples of mania 

Manic episodes aren’t just a case of being more ‘up’ than usual. There are many different signs and symptoms of mania, which include:

  • Unusually high energy
  • Increased activity levels
  • wired or jumpy
  • Elation 
  • Agitation or irritability
  • Overconfidence

2. Hypomanic episodes are less severe bipolar episodes 

Less severe manic bipolar periods are known as hypomanic episodes. According to the American Psychiatric Association, one of the main hallmarks of hypomania is a decreased need for sleep. Some people who are hypomanic sleep only a few hours a day yet feel rested. 

What are examples of Hypomanic episodes? 

The diagnostic criteria for hypomania require at least three of the following symptoms for at least four days, according to experts

  • Less sleep required 
  • Excessive talking 
  • Over participation in risky situations, such as impulsive business decisions, excessive shopping, shopping sprees, sexual indiscretions, and impulsive business investments
  • Racing thoughts 
  • Becoming increasingly distracted 
  • Increased activity 
  • Grandiosity or a high level of esteem

3. Ways to treat hypomanic episodes 

Some of the most common triggers of hypomania are sleep deprivation and/or too much caffeine.

For mild or moderate hypomanic episodes, it may be possible for a person to treat the episodes by adopting basic lifestyle habits. These can include: 

  • Making sure to eat meals regularly 
  • Participating in daily physical activity 
  • Aim for between seven or eight hours of sleep per night. 

For more severe episodes of hypomania, patients may require mood stabilizers. 

4. Bipolar doesn’t go away without treatment 

According to NIMH, Although the symptoms of bipolar do come and go, it usually requires lifetime treatment and won’t go away on its own. 

Some of the outcomes of bipolar disorder can be severe if left untreated. It can cause difficulties such as job loss, family issues, and even suicide. 

When properly treated, the good news is that it can lead to better outcomes for the sufferer and everyone involved with the patient. 

5. Ages that you might develop bipolar disorder 

One of the most common times for bipolar disorder to develop is often during late adolescence or teen years into early adulthood.

It’s not so common, but occasionally bipolar symptoms can appear in younger children.

According to experts, some of the symptoms of bipolar disorder might overlap with symptoms of common childhood disorders such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, which is usually referred to as ADHD

6. Can I get bipolar in late adulthood? 

Receiving an early diagnosis of bipolar disorder can make treatment and management easier. 

However, it is common for older adults to have been misdiagnosed, meaning they won’t realize they are suffering from bipolar symptoms until later in life. 

According to recent research, most patients begin to experience symptoms of bipolar disorder before they are 50. 

However, some patients can get symptoms after 50 years of age, commonly known as late-onset bipolar disorder.

7. Bipolar is mistaken for depression 

One of the most common misdiagnosis for bipolar is depression. 

As the more mild, manic episodes in bipolar II can sometimes pass unnoticed, it can be easy for sufferers to simply not spot the signs. 

According to research by Drs. Tanvir Singh and Muhammad Rajput, 69% of people with bipolar disorder are initially misdiagnosed with another mental health disorder, most commonly unipolar depression. 

It’s staggering to understand that more than 30% of those remain misdiagnosed for 10 years or more and the average patient remains misdiagnosed for between 5 and 7 and a half years.

Related: Bipolar vs Unipolar

8. What treatments are available for bipolar disorder? 

12 Bipolar Disorder Facts

There are many ways to help those who have bipolar disorder. Some of the most common methods include:

  • Medication 
  • Learning to recognize the triggers and signs of an episode of depression or mania
  • Psychotherapy 
  • Lifestyle advice such as doing regular exercise and a healthy diet, alongside planning activities you enjoy that give a sense of achievement
  • Family support 

9. Are there any foods I should avoid if I have bipolar? 

It’s common knowledge that eating unhealthy foods can lead to many types of health issues.

However, it’s not as well known that a poor diet can play a role in triggering bipolar mood episodes, according to research

Lack of nutrition can also contribute to less effective medication. While there is no specific diet recommended for bipolar disorder, certain food choices may help manage manic episodes. Avoiding or limiting your intake of the following may be beneficial:

  • Sugar
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol 
  • Salt 

10. Bipolar and creativity

Bipolar does not discriminate and affects many popular faces we recognize from Hollywood, the music industry, poets, and writers. 

The association between creativity and bipolar disorder has attracted academic and public interest for centuries, and there has been much research on the subject. 

Here are 15 famous creatives who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder: 

  • Mariah Carey
  • Jane Pauley
  • Ernest Hemingway 
  • Charles Dickens 
  • Russell Brand
  • Mel Gibson 
  • Demi Lovato
  • Mariette Hartley
  • Sinéad O’Connor
  • Catherine Zeta jones 
  • Jean Claude Van Damme 
  • Carrie Fisher 
  • Vivienne Leigh 
  • Sergei Rachmaninoff
  • Lord Byron

11. Bipolar disorder facts – Bipolar statistics

Let’s take a look at some statistics relating to bipolar disorder 

  • Bipolar is the fourth most common mental health problem worldwide after depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia.
  • According to Bupa, 1 in every 100 people have bipolar disorder. 
  • Around 25% of people with bipolar disorder have never sought help from health services.

12. There is no known single cause of bipolar

Although much research has been undertaken on bipolar disorder, researchers are still investigating the reasons as to why you might have symptoms. 

Currently, according to experts, there are three risk factors that contribute to your likelihood of developing the condition. These are: 

  • Genetics 
  • Brain structure
  • Family history

Scientists are still looking into which genes are involved and the type of brain structure that may make someone more predisposed to the condition. 

However, it is clear that bipolar disorder does tend to run in families

While most people with a family history of the condition won’t go on to develop bipolar disorder, having a parent or sibling with bipolar disorder can significantly increase the risk. 

Finally

We hope we’ve been able to enlighten you on some of the bipolar disorder facts you perhaps didn’t know. If you feel you might be a sufferer, then we strongly recommend consulting your doctor.

If you’re having trouble affording any of your medications, then Prescription Hope may be able to help. Enroll with us and see if you qualify to pay only $50 a month for each of your medications.



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