Bipolar disorder or manic-depressive disorder is a psychiatric condition categorized by a series of mood disorders. These are usually defined by the presence of one or more episodes of abnormally elevated energy levels, cognition, and mood and one or more depressive episodes.

Individuals who experience manic episodes also commonly experience depressive episodes or symptoms, or mixed episodes in which features of both mania and depression are present at the same time.

The disease made news recently when Hollywood actor Mel Gibson, who accepted to the disorder way back in 2002, recently went on a name-calling spree against his former wife Oksana Grigorieva. Experts believe that despite Gibson's admission to the disease, it may not stand as legitimate defense in the domestic abuse case.

Listed here are six myths about bipolar disorder:

1) Everyone has their ups and downs and mine aren't serious: While it is true that everyone has good and bad days, but when it starts to impact others seriously, getting medical assistance is advisable.

2) It is just about a mood swing: While it certainly affects the patient's moods, at a more crucial level, it affects cognition and the ability to take up mental tasks.

3) Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder: While this is correct, researchers are now finding links to anxiety, substance abuse and sleep disorders. There is also evidence to link it to heart disease and migraine.

4) Characterized by severe mood swings: This is not necessarily true as most people with the ailment seem more depressed than manic. In fact, in many cases the patient and the psychiatrist overlook the manic disorders. Patients often enter long periods of remission.

5) Chemical imbalance is the root cause: This is a simple explanation as the actual cause is a mix of genetic, biological and stress related factors. Personal ties and financial woes and could trigger off mood swings if not treated promptly.

6) All you need is medicines: While drugs are the foundation of treatment, recovery can only happen with a steady lifestyle in terms of diet, exercise and sleep. In addition, the patient needs to be provided with skills and support to cope with the disease.