Acceptance of Bipolar Disorder and the Negative Stigma

I know there is still a huge problem with acceptance of bipolar disorder. No one wants to accept that they have this illness. It is a very painful illness to live with and it seems that the pain will never get better.

I want to and must shout out to the world that bipolar disorder does get better and your life will improve. I promise.

I want to share my story so others will never have to go through what I did for as long as I did.

Please accept your diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

There is nothing to be ashamed of. It is not a character flaw. You didn’t do anything to cause bipolar disorder.

Bipolar is a disease that you just happened to get, just like you could get any other disease in your body.

You must accept your bipolar diagnosis so you can begin to find the correct medications and treatment that will help you. There are many things that will help relieve your symptoms of bipolar disorder, but you first have to accept that you have bipolar disorder.

Accept, believe, have faith, be patient, be strong, and persevere and you will feel better. You will get better and you will feel happy and love life again.

I know part of the large problem of the acceptance of bipolar stems from the huge, unfair and unjust stigma associated with bipolar disorder.

Unfortunately, the negative assumption is made that people with bipolar disorder are bad and violent people. This generalization comes from news media and social media reporting, for example, that the mass murder was caused by a man who has bipolar disorder.

This is what the public hears and so the public learns, believes and makes the generalization that all people with bipolar disorder are dangerous and violent people.

This contributes to the negative stigma bipolar has in society and why many people believe most people with bipolar disorder are bad and violent people.

This information is very inaccurate and untrue. A very small percentage of people with bipolar disorder are violent. Comparing people with bipolar disorder to people without bipolar disorder the percentage of violent people is about the same.


Rates of violence compared

  1. In the general population, 3.4% of people without bipolar disorder are violent.
  2. Compared to the 4.9% of people with bipolar disorder that are violent.

Percentage of people convicted of at least one violent crime, 1973–2004


Source: Fazel S, et al. Archives of General Psychiatry. September 2010.

Published: January, 2011


These percentages are very close.

We all need to increase awareness and education about bipolar disorder so people can learn the truth about bipolar disorder and people living with bipolar disorder.

I think the stigma is what is causing so many young people and people newly diagnosed with bipolar to commit suicide. They do not want this illness and the negative stigma associated with it.

The other problem with being newly diagnosed with bipolar disorder is that people greatly dislike how their life changes so abruptly and drastically. It is very difficult to adapt to the new and negative changes and losses in their lives related to their new bipolar disorder diagnosis. At least it was extremely difficult for me to get used to the negative changes and losses in my life related to my bipolar diagnosis.

However, we need more people to shout out to those newly diagnosed people and their families and give them hope and let them know that there is so much hope.

You will get better and you can still live a long and happy life. You just have to learn to live and cope with the symptoms you will occasionally continue to have.

Life will have its ups and downs, but the ups will be so good that life is worth living. 

We all need to be a voice. 

Let’s all join hands together and unite,

increase awareness and educate the public,

reduce suicide and stigma,

give people hope

and save lives.

———————————————————–

Fazel S, et al. “Bipolar Disorder and Violent Crime: New Evidence from Population-Based Longitudinal Studies and Systematic Review,” Archives of General Psychiatry (Sept. 2010): Vol. 67, No. 9, pp. 931–38.

Fazel S, et al. “Schizophrenia, Substance Abuse, and Violent Crime,” Journal of the American Medical Association (May 20, 2009): Vol. 301, No. 19, pp. 2016–23.

Siever LJ. “Neurobiology of Aggression and Violence,” American Journal of Psychiatry (April 2008): Vol. 165, No. 4, pp. 429–42.

Volavka J, et al. “Violent Behavior in Mental Illness: The Role of Substance Abuse,” Journal of the American Medical Association (Aug. 4, 2010): Vol. 304, No. 5, pp. 563–64.

For more references, please see www.health.harvard.edu/mentalextra.

 

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