This paper aims to clear up the confusion the surrounds bipolar disorder. Extensive research examines the societal misconceptions about bipolar disorder. The research will show how celebrity impact, media perception, and self-stigmatization all contribute to the confusion of what it means to have bipolar disorder. After identifying the misconceptions, this research will identify clinical definitions of bipolar disorder along with existing comorbidities with other mental illnesses such as borderline personality disorder, depression, ADHD, and anxiety disorder. The disease can be under or over diagnosed when these comorbidities are not taken into account during a patient assessment. Bipolar disorder is often misdiagnosed and this research will explore how that can occur and how it can be prevented. With a proper diagnosis, a treatment plan can be put into place. The research here will show that several treatments can be effective, with each patient being different in their response to treatment. Traditional pharmaceutical, non-traditional pharmaceutical, and psychotherapeutic treatment options are all available and can be used in conjunction with each other or independently of one another depending on the patient’s symptoms, medical conditions, and responsiveness to treatment.

Finally, this paper will include interviews from two local clinicians that explain their perspective on bipolar disorder, along with some insight from my own personal experience with my husband’s illness. It is my hope that this research will educate people on what bipolar disorder truly looks like, therefore reducing the stigmatism surrounding the disease.

Year Manuscript Completed

Spring 2022

Senior Project Advisor

Dr. Scott Douglas

Degree Awarded

Bachelor of Integrated Studies Degree

Field of Study

Human Services

Document Type