The popular and worthwhile blog Furious Seasons, written by a guy diagnosed with bipolar disorder, asks the following: Does bipolar disorder exist? Here’s an excerpt, a quote from psychiatrist Paul Minot, from a thought-provoking post well worth reading in its entirety:
Bipolar disorder isn’t actually a disease.
It’s a collection of signs and symptoms lumped together in a diagnostic classification that has no basis or assumption of causation. There is no known neurochemical abnormality associated with “bipolar disorder”, and patients with this diagnosis certainly have a plethora of different problems, all lumped together in one convenient/dumb diagnostic classification.
The expansion of the definition of bipolar disorder over the past two decades is simply a “rebranding” of post-traumatic stress disorder, impulse control disorders, personality disorders, and other problems into a pseudoscientific trashcan diagnosis, to provide an FDA-approved “indication” for the prescription and marketing of anticonvulsants and other medications to treat this “illness”. I know this because I myself am a psychiatrist, actively treating bipolar disorder and prescribing these medications. I think prescribing these medications is reasonably safe and often helpful, but trumping up fictitious diagnoses and deluding people into thinking that they have a lifelong illness without a firm grounding in scientific fact is ridiculous, and unethical. Your own experience isn’t miraculous, it just verifies that much of contemporary psychiatric diagnosis is a bunch of malarkey.
Kalea Chapman, Psy.D.