Mental disorder has become very common these days and in the United States, many people have been diagnosed with this condition. According the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, statistics indicate that bipolar disorder is non discriminatory, it affects men, women and children in equal measure race, social class or ethnic group notwithstanding. Approximately 5.7 million Americans who are eighteen and/or older suffer from it. Even so, about 70% of this population is aware of their status and are under medication (WHO 2005). Bipolar disorder is therefore a condition that has become very common among the American population taking into consideration the rising statistics.
Normally, bipolar disorder is diagnosed by a supposed patient being subjected to psychiatric assessment. David Elkin says that a patient is subjected to quite a number of questions and the severity of the condition is judged by the way the person in question answers the questions (1999). It is during the assessment that the psychiatrist gets to know whether there are physical aspects to it such as underactive or overactive thyroid in order for proper treatment to be administered.
After diagnosis, treatment then commences. Treatment in this case seeks to reduce the severity of the condition. There are several treatment options that are available. These options include psychological treatment, use of conventional medicine and also use of lifestyle advice on how to cope with its symptoms (Martin 2007). There are times when these treatments are administered each in isolation and at times are offered as a combination. Even so, when the combination of the two or three is used, it is never clear which of them is the most effective and which leads to recovery or easier management of the condition (Warren 2007).
All the mental disorders that are known have their specialized ways of diagnosis. A patient has to go through the hands of a psychiatrist in order to establish the mental condition they are suffering from. In the case of bipolar disorder, the procedure used for diagnosis is almost similar to that used in many other mental disorders safe for the fact that bipolar disorder diagnosis largely depends on the mood that one finds themselves in (Tseng 2001).
Many are the times that people ignore the symptoms and associate them for common stress or hyperactivity in the case of mental illness more so in the case of bipolar disorder. Due to the fact that one experiences a multitude of mood fluctuations, many are the times when cultural beliefs, norms and values are brought into the condition as people tend to bring out the meaning of the things that happen to an individual (Bhugra & Becker 2005). There therefore exists a huge interplay between cultural competence in the diagnosis, treatment and management of bipolar disorder (Kleinman 2004).
Bhugra D. & Becker, M. (2005).Migration, Cultural Bereavement and Cultural Identity. World Psychiatry. 4:18-24
Elkin, D. G. (1999). An Introduction to Clinical Psychiatry. New York: McGraw Hill.
Kleinman A. (2004). Culture and Depression. N English Journal of Med. 351:951-953.
Martin, E. (2007). Bipolar Expeditions: Mania and Depression in American Culture. Princeton: Princeton University press.
Tseng, W. S. (2001). Handbook of Cultural Psychiatry. San Diego, California
Warren, B. J. (2007). Cultural Aspects of Bipolar Disorder: Interpersonal Meaning for Clients & Psychiatry Nurses. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services. Issue p. 32- 37.
World Health Organization (WHO). World Mental Health Atlas. Geneva, Switzerland: WHO; 2005