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Facts About Bipolar You May Not Know

Updated on July 29, 2020
Kristoph M profile image

I am no expert on mental illness, I only speak through experiences of my own and those brave enough to share their stories with me.


There is a lot of misconceptions about those who live with Bipolar and there isn't enough fact based information readily available unless you know how to look. While it is easy to list off symptoms and behaviors that are common and obvious to those who witness them first hand, to actually learn something factual and new about Bipolar is hard to come by. Normally, my articles are a bit more personal, sometimes they are too personal for people to relate to. Therefore, I have done some research to bring you some facts about Bipolar that may not be considered common knowledge to those who do not live with it.

1. The Different Types

There are different types of Bipolar and they are distinguished by their aspects and traits shown by the individuals who live with them. For starters, Bipolar Disorder was once referred to as manic depression. It isn't just the basic reaction of cycling through mood swings. In fact, as I have stated in many other pieces, there are different variations of this disorder that can be labeled under the banner of Bipolar. Here is a breakdown of the types.

  • Bipolar I- This is best described as one or multiple manic episodes that follow either hypomania (Mild Manic Symptoms), or major depressive states of mind.

  • Bipolar II- While not having a full-fledged manic episode, you will find that there is an alternating state of mind of hypomania and major depression.

  • Cyclothymic Disorder- This is alternating symptoms of hypomania and depressive states that lasts for two years or longer for adults, or one year+ as a child.

  • 'Mixed”- Mixed Bipolar references the occurrence of symptoms that are simultaneous and yet opposite polarities during episodes of manic, hypomanic, and/or depressive states. It is signified by sleeplessness, racing thoughts, high energy, while also feeling hopeless, despairing, or even irritable and/or suicidal.

  • Rapid-Cycling- This is term simply describes having many different (Four or more) mood episodes within a period of 12 months. These episodes must last for a minimum number of days in order to be seen as qualifying episodes. These polarities can cycle rapidly from high to low (or the other way around) in a single week, or even a single day.

Mixed Episodes Are Sometimes Common

While mood swings between depressive and manic states often define Bipolar, it isn't uncommon for the symptoms of both of these states to co-exist simultaneously. These episodes are often combining dark moods with super high energy. This is a high-risk condition.

Individual Episodes can be Unique

In the medical field, when they diagnose Bipolar, they base it off the duration of the episode. 1 week minimum for manic episodes, and 2 weeks for depressive states. However, the true length of these cycles aren't so cut and dry. In fact, there isn't a fixed duration to these episodes, nor is there a definitive pattern.

Diagnosis isn't Simple

One of the longest lasting, and often most dominate, trait of Bipolar is the depressive episodes. Because of this, diagnosing Bipolar as depression isn't uncommon. To make it more difficult, the another trait is manic episodes that are represented by happy and energetic states. People don't seek out help for being happy and productive, so it often goes overlooked by doctors. You have to have a very defined medical history, and honestly, an individual may not see their hypomania as a symptom of the illness.

Bipolar Disorder is Completely Manageable

This, and I can't stress this enough, needs to be heard. This is a manageable disorder. There isn't a cure, and letting it go unchecked can be harmful, dangerous, and debilitating. It is completely possible to have a successful, complete, and happy life while living with Bipolar. Many doctors view Bipolar no differently than they would someone who has a disease. With proper management, normal living and stability are within reach.


While it may seem hopeless when you are diagnosed, or it can be confusing when someone you love is, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The issue is, you have to walk down the tunnel. Tunnels can be dark, scary, and often times they feel endless. But, there is an end. You don't have to walk this tunnel alone, and if you know someone who is living with this disorder, don't make them walk it alone. Take the time to understand the disorder, and learn all you can about it. That is the only way to beat it. As I stated before, there is no cure. But management is completely within reach. Was this information helpful? Let me know in the comments.

© 2020 Kristoph Mac


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