Myths About Mind and Mood Revealed

At one point, bipolar disorder seemed to be a disease of the rich and well-to-do; wealthy people were diagnosed with it much more frequently.

As it turns out, more dollars in the bank will not directly give you a mood disorder.

"[It's] likely an artifact of individuals with ... greater economic resources being able to obtain appropriate psychiatric diagnosis and treatment," said William Gilmer, a psychiatrist with Northwestern Memorial Hospital and expert featured on ABC News' OnCall+ Bipolar Disorder resource site.

Gilmer said that poorer people just can't afford to get the right treatment -- and are more likely to be misdiagnosed with schizophrenia.

Frequently, these undiagnosed or misdiagnosed people end up being incarcerated due to their untreated behavior, whereas a wealthy person with the same condition would get appropriate treatment.

Fact or Myth? If I treat my bipolar disorder, I will lose my creativity.

Answer: Myth

While there is an association between artistic careers and bipolar disorder, it doesn't mean that the condition is the wellspring of creativity.

"While artists may be more likely to suffer from bipolar illness than perhaps certain other groups," Gilmer said, "it could be because the illness in and of itself leads individuals to select work environments [that are] more tolerant of the erratic behaviors or the inconsistency that can go along with the illness."

Gilmer also pointed out that the disorder can harm a person's career potential -- scores of people have lost opportunities and jobs because of the disruptive symptoms of their illness.

"I think the danger is to romanticize a possible association of bipolar illness and creativity," Gilmer said. "In fact, recent studies have demonstrated that treating bipolar illness in no way decreases a person's creative productivity, and in fact will enhance or may increase their productivity."

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