Archives for February, 2012
Last night my wife and I watched Carrie Fisher's Wishful Drinking – the HBO film version of her solo Broadway performance based on her book of the same title. In Wishful Drinking, Fisher recounts the emotional ups and downs of her childhood and career and her struggles with depression and mania, all in a very humorous way. One thing that struck me, and I've noticed this in other situations, is that families are often pretty screwed up and sometimes it's the most "normal" person in the family, the one who seems to really have it all together, takes the hit and ends up with the bipolar label. Then the family treats that person as the crazy one – the problem. I can't claim that this is usually how it plays out, but I've observed it in a couple cases.
About a year ago, a friend of a friend of mine from Slovenia, Helena Smole, sent me her book, Balancing the Beast: A Bright View of Schizoaffective Disorder – Bipolar or Manic-Depressive Type. I tend to drag my feet when asked to do book reviews, and I was turned off by the use of the phrase "mental patient" on the cover (in a quote from someone other than Helen Smole, but it still made me hesitant to read the book). Well, I finally recovered from my knee-jerk reaction and read the book. I'm glad I did.
We hear a great deal about the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, version IV (DSM-IV) and revision DSM-V which is due to be released in May 2013. What we tend to hear less about in the United States are the World Health Organization's ICD-10 Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders and any sort of official treatment guidelines. In this post, I highlight some of the differences between DSM and ICD and let you know where you can find treatment guidelines for bipolar disorder published in the US and UK, so you can check them out for yourself.
Several years ago, when my wife was recovering from a major manic episode, she turned over the task of paying our bills and managing the checkbook to me. We were just looking for ways I could help, and that was an easy one. The other day, however, I came across an article by Ginnie Graham published on the Tulsa World website entitled "Bill-paying program helps mentally ill avoid becoming homeless," and it made me realize that missed payments could lead to major problems for those with bipolar who don't have someone who can take on that task, especially during a major mood episode or during recovery.