When it comes to bipolar disorder,  many people are faced with common stigmas due to a lack of understanding and negative behaviors perpetuated by the media. One of the most common stigmas surrounding bipolar disorder is that it makes people dangerous and more prone to violence. In reality, individuals with bipolar disorder have a low risk of violence and are not a danger to those around them. There are few cases where the threat of violence increases, but this is usually due to external factors. By understanding the realities surrounding violence and bipolar disorder, we can reduce stigma and boost empathy.

Stigmas Perpetuated by Media

When portraying mental illness in movies and TV shows, the media looks for ways to exaggerate or sensationalize symptoms for better shock value. Therefore, one of the best ways to do this is to portray individuals with mental health disorders as violent. For example, in the show Empire, Lucious’ mom is portrayed as a violent woman struggling with bipolar disorder. The portrayal is exaggerated, and it is not an isolated event of inaccurate portrayals of bipolar disorder that perpetuate the stigma of violence.

The Reality

Over the years, several studies have been done to understand if mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder, increases a person’s risk of being more violent.

According to one study published by World Psychiatry, mental disorders are often not the cause of violence. Instead, “the major determinants of violence continue to be socio-demographic and socioeconomic factors such as being young, male, and of lower socioeconomic status.” The study also found that substance abuse is a significant risk factor for violence. Rather than individuals with bipolar disorder being more likely to be violent, they are actually more at risk to be a victim of violence themselves due to negative stereotypes.

When the general public learns this and becomes more educated on mental health disorders like bipolar disorder, negative stigmas are reduced, and those struggling can get the support they need.

 The stereotypes surrounding bipolar disorder are rampant, especially concerning the link between the condition and violence. These stigmas are perpetuated further by media portrayals of bipolar disorder that are often exaggerated. Studies have shown that bipolar disorder and other mental health conditions alone are not a cause for violence. Instead, other underlying factors can be attributed, such as substance abuse. Alta Loma Transformational Services helps men struggling with bipolar disorder and substance abuse find healing one step at a time. Call us today to learn more and start your healing journey at (866) 457-3843.


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Healing on Your Terms

You understand your needs best. If you have found yourself at a crossroads in your treatment and feel like your program options don’t fully understand you or aspects of your recovery, it’s time to contact the specialists at Alta Loma. We will help you craft the ideal care plan and secure the support you need, quickly, to avoid unnecessary problems. At Alta Loma, that’s our mission — to provide each individual with optimum care for the wellbeing they deserve.