Bipolar disorder is a very real illness.  It is a physical illness in the sense that it is a chemical imbalance in the brain, yet it is also a mental illness, because it is classified as a Mood Disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual on Mental Disorders (published by the American Psychiatric Association).


Unfortunately, at this time there is no cure for bipolar disorder; however, there is treatment for it.  Treatment consists of medication and therapy.  With compliance to a good treatment plan, many people with bipolar disorder are finding the ability to manage their disorder successfully.


So where does faith come in – and is it a negative or a positive thing as it relates to bipolar disorder?


Many people who are not Christians still believe that they are "good people" and will tell you that they "have faith."  To them, it has nothing to do with traditional Christian beliefs, miracle cures, or a Supreme Being (God).  They may say something like, "I just have faith that everything will turn out all right."


This is more of a "positive attitude" type of faith and, Christian or not, a positive attitude is very helpful for someone who has bipolar disorder.  At the very least, it will help them in their battle against depression. It will also be helpful in managing their bipolar disorder in general.


To a scientific or analytical person, faith may be as simple as believing that when they turn on a light switch, the bulb will light up.  It's just a matter of physics to them – a faith having nothing to do with religion at all.  This can be detrimental to a person with bipolar disorder if it reflects a cynical, negative attitude.


A Christian, however, has a very definite stand on faith.  The Bible says in Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."  This is more than just having a positive attitude.  To a Christian with bipolar disorder, faith is something that helps them deal with the daily ups and downs of living with the disorder.  Their faith in God helps them get through the most difficult of times.  Faith being "the substance of things hoped for," keeps them hoping for that cure for bipolar disorder, while faith being "the evidence of things not seen" is the inner stability they receive as a result of their faith.


Can faith help you overcome bipolar disorder?  If you're looking for a miracle, I don't think so.  From what I've seen, Christians with bipolar disorder believe that their faith sustains them rather than cures them.  However, faith can help you to overcome symptoms of bipolar disorder; such as: stress, anxiety, depression, helplessness, hopelessness, and suicidal thoughts.