-Bipolar disorder is a mental illness, also known as manic-depressive disorder that is characterized by extreme mood swings between depressive states and manic states. It is a long-term condition that significantly affects one’s daily life. It can be managed by treatment with a psychologist and medication therapy. This illness is also misunderstood and over-simplified by the culture, it is often seen as just moodiness or as someone who is just “unbalanced”, but the psychological effects are much more far reaching and complex. This cultural view can often isolate those who suffer from this disorder and make them feel as if their friends and family just do not understand their chronic condition. Biomedicine in the U.S. mainly focuses on drug interventions, often mixing and experimenting with different drug programs, to see which is most effective for that particular patient. Some medications have proven effective, but their effectiveness can often dissipate over time, which leads to higher dosage or trying a new medication.
-The video blog from “YouTube” that we watch was of a young man who has been suffering from Bipolar disorder for thirteen years. He first starting experiencing his symptoms as a freshman in college and would self-medicate with alcohol and mask his emotions with partying. As he began to seek more treatment he tried a few various drugs and would experience benefits from them, but as they would wear off he would experience extreme symptoms. After this poor experience with drug therapy, he tried to use his own healthy lifestyle approach to treating his illness and that worked for him for a while. Then a couple of years ago, he had a great increase in symptoms and his issues with alcohol and embarrassment over his illness led him to hit a low point. He then started treatment with a psychiatrist again and with therapy and medication was able to better manage his illness.
-For the man in the video blog and others like him, the effects of bipolar disorder and the way it is perceived in the culture can have a widespread impact on every aspect of life. His denial and embarrassment of his illness led him to put of getting treatment at first and led him, as many others do, to self-medicate with alcohol. Also, he suffered from feelings of loneliness and the feeling that his family and friends truly didn’t understand his illness, which leads those suffering from this illness to not be open about their symptoms which impact how others perceive them and how they cope with their illness.
-I think belief and healing are interconnected in ways that we still don’t fully understand. The example in the “Placebo” documentary about the fake knee surgery was interesting, particularly because they said they saw no difference at all between the three test groups. I think the ritual of the medical care does have a big impact on the way we think about healing and it can have a real effect on our health.
Mayo Clinic staff. (2012, 01 18). Bipolar disorder. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bipolar-disorder/DS00356