Discussion Questions for Bipolar
- Do you know anyone who has Bipolar disorder? If so, what are the circumstances? How did they affect you?
- Dr. Wang describes:
- Bipolar I as something that everyone would notice: the family, the neighbors, the store clerk
- Bipolar II as something that your family or friends notice
- Bipolar Not Otherwise Specified (NOS) as something you don’t identify until after it happened
Can you characterize any people with bipolar disorder as falling into one of these three types?
- Why do you think that most doctors who see patients with bipolar disorder see them when they are depressed?
- Why do you think that bipolar disorder is difficult to diagnose? Both Robert and Barbara didn’t receive an adequate diagnosis until years after their first troubles.
- What do you think about how Robert deals with his bipolar symptoms, for example, giving his credit cards to a friend when he feels a manic episode is coming on?
- The psychologist Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison has written in the “Touched with Fire” about the link between Bipolar disorder and creativity. She maintains that a disproportionate number of people with bipolar disorder have lived creative lives as artists, composers, writers, poets, and musicians. Can you speculate why this creative link with bipolar disorder exists?
- Host Rev. Barbara Meyers first experienced depression in the postpartum period, and only later developed a pattern of small blips of highs followed by deep depressions. This was diagnosed as Bipolar NOS. Once she started taking a mood stabilizer along with her anti-depressant, this pattern of mood swings ended. Research has shown that there is a link between postpartum depression and bipolar disorder. Why do you think this might be?
- Did you understand why Dr. Wang treats the depression in bipolar disorder differently than uni-polar depression?
- Did you learn anything about how to obtain help for someone who might have bipolar disorder?
- Why do you think some people with bipolar disorder don’t want to take their psychiatric medications? What do you think about legislation to force people to take medications? What are the pros and cons as you see them?
- How would a WRAP plan (as discussed on the Recovery show) work for bipolar disorder?
- Kay Redfield Jamison has said that if a gene controlling bipolar disorder is found, she would be agains genetic counseling to end a pregnancy because so many artistic, literary and musical geniuses have had this disorder that we would be harming future cultural developments. Do you agree or disagree?
For resources see: Resources Mentioned in the Show
These questions are to provide family and peer discussion and education. The information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical or psychological condition. If you think someone is too fragile to be part of the discussion, please have them consult their mental health care provider for individual advice regarding the situation.