W4 Reflection: Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is a problem that many individuals deal with.  I chose this topic because I think that it is very misunderstood in our culture. Bipolar disorder is characterized by what its name implies. The person suffering from it has varying mood swings which can leave them in a “high” mania state or a “low” state of depression. These very differing states of mind are caused by the body’s balance of brain chemicals or neurotransmitters. Scientists do not have a complete understanding of the issue but they know enough to be able to treat the issue.  Too much of one chemical can lead a person to go towards one of the possible extreme mental states. A treatment for bipolar would be a form of SSRI’s. Culture and biomedicine can influence the illness experience as well as treatment. Culture can have an effect due to the stigma that goes along with having this disorder. Individuals can be quick to judge a person suffering from this issue as a “crazy” person when they themselves are simply a victim. This stigma makes it more difficult for a person already trying to deal with the initial issue. This is similar to the stigma that goes along with post-partum depression. The stigma I’m referring to is the one where society believes this disorder is just an excuse for mothers that are not ready to have a child and are just simply a bad mother.  Biomedicine on the other hand can help these individuals deal with the symptoms through things like the previously mentioned SSRI’s. This allows the victims to lead a relatively normal life. I think the connection between beliefs in healing has to do with the “power of the mind”. Simply put, I think that if we believe we are getting better through some sort of treatment or observation, our mind will trick ourselves into feeling better. This is called the placebo effect which is described in the film “Placebo: Cracking the Code”. I’ve experienced this through the feelings received through activities like working out.

6 thoughts on “W4 Reflection: Bipolar disorder

  1. Bipolar Disorder is a disorder that is usually caused by stress or depression, however the reason why I picked your post to write a comment because I am interested on what Bipolar Disorder is. It is true many people do get a misconception or misunderstanding in our culture. Moreover, and it’s sad to see when people get misjudged by it because there isn’t much researcher having a complete knowledge of the issue is, but they know enough to be able to treat the issue. Furthermore, I enjoyed reading your post because you went in depths on what could have caused bipolar disorder. Many people probably thinks that when you change your moods in a short minutes in time, you have bipolar disorder, however that’s incorrect. What you mentioned how,” person suffering from it has varying mood swings which can leave them in a “high” mania state or a “low” state of depression. These very differing states of mind are caused by the body’s balance of brain chemicals or neurotransmitters,” I couldn’t agree more. In addition, what I enjoy reading was how you add lectures videos, readings into your reflection post which shows that you definitely did your homework. Overall, it was a great post and you did a great job. Honestly, I’ve learned something from reading your post about bipolar disorder.

  2. Hello John, I selected your post this week because I think many people have a skewed view of Bipolar disorder. My view of the condition was almost comically simplistic as I thought people with Bipolar disorder simply went from mania to depression constantly without realizing the reality of the condition. I had no idea how dangerous and disruptive the condition truly is for those affected.

    Medical conditions like Bipolar disorder often times are only known for their blatant symptoms and not the lifestyle it entails. For example, someone who is bipolar can have trouble holding a job, maintaining relationships, and controlling finances; things that the general population takes for granted. Bipolar disorder is more than a condition; it comes with vast limitations that effect every aspect of the afflicted individual’s life which I believe is often glossed over in our culture.

    After reviewing our course material for this week I realize that our perceptions are constantly changing and closely influenced by our environment. The people we surround ourselves with allow us to exchange ideas and our society adds importance to those ideas. I believe many people underestimate just how much of our perceptions are influenced by environmental sources which I realized when I reviewed my own limited knowledge of Bipolar disorder. Great post this week – Samantha

  3. Hi John,
    I chose to comment on your post because I personally know my understanding of bipolar disorder is lacking. I know now that bipolar disorder is a type of depression disorder but I originally believed that bipolar disorder was a mental disorder similar to schizophrenia or multiple personality disorder. I thought people with bipolar order were crazy, not depressed. Looking back after what we have learned so far in this class I believe my perceptions of this disorder were partially influenced by my surroundings, but also partially due to my general lack of knowledge on the subject. I think that part of the problem with people not understanding bipolar disorder or any other mental disorder is that in our culture we really are only exposed to the negative aspects of the disorder. When we hear the words mental disorder or depression we are automatically brought to negative conclusions, but we are never really taught to understand how these disorders affect the people living with them. The media wants us to believe that everyone with mental illness is crazy and going to commit some crazy crime and that everyone with depression is suicidal, but we never really are exposed to the daily struggles these people face.

  4. Hi John! I chose to comment on your post this week because I believe I myself have fallen into the trap of being uneducated and quickly judging someone who is bipolar as “crazy”! To me, bipolar disorder, was both biomedically and culturally seen as a disorder in which the person is simply crazy! They are happy or sad and can switch from those emotions in an instant, like the flip of a switch. From reading you post I now realize that is not it at all. I now see that these people are not at all crazy but simply victims to a chemical imbalance in their brain. I now see that the “manic” and “depressive” emotions are more of a stage that the person goes through rather than an instant emotion. I believe that my friends and family definitely influence my perception of bipolar disorder. Whenever my friends are talking about someone who they may not like or they think are kind of crazy they quickly say “Oh he/she is totally bipolar, he/she is crazy”! I see now that it is really not okay at all to judge people and label them as bipolar because someone we do not like something about them. I believe that culturally this disorder is misunderstood and quickly used to label people who we may not like.

  5. Bipolar disorder is a very interesting illness that I think is an escape goat for some medical providers who don’t spend the right amount of time to find the real issue with the patient. Looking at the definition from NIH Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. I do believe it is a serious issue, but there are a lot of abuse of the medications by both the patient and the medical provider using Bipolar disorder as an excuse for discipline issues that should be given tough love instead medications. As for the patients that truly need it, I feel that they are not given the proper attention that is needed to balance their medication. The need for better resources for those who need it, both the patient and their families is something that needs great improvement. There is many thoughts on this topic, but due to funding issues and the once again the full understanding of the problem it there is lacking the correct amount of help.
    I enjoyed reading your post and feel you have a good grasp on the topic.

  6. Hi John!
    I chose your post because I’ve always struggled with understanding bipolar disorder and I know that many people confuse it as well. From what I personally know bipolar disorder is when a person has different cycles of being really happy and then depressed, almost like a light switch. The triggers can be very simple, but it affects the patients very strongly. I do understand that these patients have chemical imbalances in the brain, most mental conditions do, that make them act at a certain “high” or “low.” My perception of bipolar disorder initially started developing in the media. There is a Katy Perry song called “Hot n Cold” and a lyric says “Someone call the doctor, got a case of a love bipolar.” I remember hearing that in middle school and thinking bipolar disorder is like being “hot or cold” like the song suggests. Social institutions like my old high school explained bipolar disorder in our mental health awareness week, but did not really do a well job explaining it. Most people do not know that many bipolar people, or don’t know they do, so visualizing the condition can be tricky.

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