The Bipolar Construct

Does bipolar disorder exist?

Mark Salter is a consultant psychiatrist based in London’s East End, specialising in risk, untowardness and media portrayals of mental distress. Here, he outlines the five key systems for human emotion and explains why bipolar disorder is but a construct that helps us make sense of Stephen Fry television programmes.

 

Does bipolar disorder exist?

An interesting thing happened to me six or seven years ago. I made a television programme with Stephen Fry called The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive. I invited him to my psychiatric hospital and showed him around, and over the two or three days we were filming I got to know him. I was struck that this man was making a programme about his own experiences of suffering from a mood disorder, and while he was using the term bipolar disorder to describe himself, I was using it to describe my patients

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