Mental Illness and Conspiracy Theories

Bipolar manic symptoms include paranoia, delusions and obsessiveness. Can mental illness and conspiracy theories be dangerous to your stability?

As the world mourned the events in France this month, the conspiracy theorists were busy at work creating videos and writing posts to refute all information coming from the media, enforcement agencies and government press releases. Before the sirens even stopped ringing, they were uploading. Just like every other source, there is a rush to analyse, report and be the first to hit the world-wide web.

con·spir·a·cy the·o·ry

: a theory that explains an event or situation as the result of a secret plan by usually powerful people or groups.


I have to admit that I enjoy intellectual discussion and love to play devil’s advocate when debating with someone who has very strong points of view. Even if I agree with someone, I like to see if they can defend their position. Conspiracy theories are fascinating and while I don’t believe them all, it can not be denied that there have been many theories that over time, have proven to be true.

Over the last few decades, news media and government agencies have proven over and over again that they can not be trusted to tell the truth. Whether that is a rush to report or cover up is irrelevant. The point is, you just can’t trust all the information presented. You must do your own research to the best of your ability to arrive at some resemblance of the truth. Obviously I can’t fly around the world to investigate but in general, my personal theory is to follow the money to uncover untruths. Even presenters of conspiracy theories get big money for shelling out their version of the truth and sell products based on people’s’ fear.

Here’s the rub. What if you have a mental illness? Is it healthy to engage in debating conspiracy theories? While it may be all fun and games for me to converse about theories, for Mr. Bipolar it is a completely different ball game. I have to keep a lid on the level and nature of talk about conspiracy theories. I can not be certain that his last mania brought about his obsession with conspiracy theories or the other way around.

Bipolar manic symptoms include paranoia, delusions and obsessiveness. Can mental illness and conspiracy theories be dangerous to your stability?

Obsession and paranoia are prevalent during mania for people with type 1 bipolar disorder. Some psychiatrist/psychologists believe this stems from their need for and lack of control of their own bodies and minds during mania. Letting them engage in reading/listening/discussing conspiracy theories is just like throwing gas on the fire.

I guess what I find really annoying is that there are several well-known conspiracy theorists that gets themselves into such a frenzy when they are talking. I get it. You are excited and you are engrossed in your topic but I can’t stand listening/watching to them when they really get going. I can understand passion. But it’s just so over the top. I can’t figure out if these performances are for show, to sell more subscriptions or if maybe the presenters are manic as well. I do not think they know that they are firing up people who are mentally unstable. Conspiracy theories are also big business so I am not sure they care.

Over the last few weeks on FaceBook, while many where changing their profile pics to show support for France, I also seen a trend from advocates of bipolar, report that they were tuning out. Not because they don’t care but because they care too much. Those with a mental illness are emotionally sensitive. They feel more. They grieve more. Negative world events can cause havoc for them and their stability. They must walk a fine line between being informed and staying healthy.

I do believe that talking about conspiracy theories for mentally stable people is both necessary and informative. Especially in today’s world where main stream media’s reporting is questionable and biased at best. We must question the world around us and demand the truth. But if you or your loved one suffers with bipolar or another mental illness, please be careful and limit your exposure to conspiracy theories. Always balance the need to be informed and involved with your own mental health.


Disclaimer: I am not a therapist or a doctor. This post is based solely on my personal experiences and should not be deemed as advice or counsel. Please seek appropriate medical attention from a licensed professional.

Recommended Reading: (affiliate links)
Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder: Understanding and Helping Your Partner
Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder: A 4-Step Plan for You and Your Loved Ones to Manage the Illness and Create Lasting Stability
Bipolar Disorder: A Guide for Patients and Families

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  1. I can see how this would feed fears and phobias of people who are already struggling with enough, Elena. I’m okay with conspiracy theories, it’s the spewing of hate and religious self-righteousness and intolerance that gets me!

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