Psychiatric Conditions: Bias and Shame

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It is highly recommended that you
also watch one or two of the videos on mental illness from the TED playlist, All kinds of minds (9 talks), as these
provide valuable insights into a variety of disorders and the issues associated
with them.

For this discussion, refer to the
information in the “Introduction to the Miller Family
.” Lucy Miller is a 20-year-old college student who has
recently been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  Sarah Miller, her mother,
recalls that as a teen, Lucy would get very talkative at night and couldn’t go
to sleep.  Sarah also recalled that Lucy was kicked off the cheerleading
squad when her GPA fell below 3.0, and that during this time, Lucy’s friends
were being mean to her. When this occurred, Lucy was “really down” for a couple
of months.  She didn’t want to talk to a counselor and she told her mother
Sarah that she would be fine. Lucy blamed the entire situation on the issues
with the girls in her class. However, coping with the mood swings became
increasingly difficult for her. Lucy began experimenting casually with illegal
drugs and found that they helped. Unfortunately, she kept getting them from
friends at school and has now become addicted to them.

Examine the potential biological
basis for Lucy’s psychological disorder. What, if anything, in her family
history might point to this issue being hereditary?  Be sure to apply
basic medical terminology where appropriate. Consider the biases that are often
held regarding mental illness.  How much volition is involved in mental
illness?  How much is related to environment and genetics?  Do we
think about mental illness differently when we know the person well versus if
the person is a stranger (e.g., a homeless individual or a panhandler on the
street)?  Analyze the impact that our stage of lifespan development has on
how we think of our own mental health and the mental health of others. What
impact does it have on our associated behaviors and the long-term outcomes
associated with the disorder? 


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