–FANTASTIC web resource for bipolar disorder

14 Mar

A progressive psychiatrist at the Cascadia clinic recommended this site to me, and it is marvelous. For all you DSM haters out there, you’ll be pleased to know that a psychiatrist at Harvard developed another diagnostic instrument called the Bipolarity Index. This views affective disorders on a spectrum and uses a self-guided point system to help identify your place on it–a huge improvement over the checklists, black-or-white thinking, and doctor-patient power differential espoused by the DSM.

It’s easy to hate on psychiatry. Every single person I know with mental health issues has at least one horror story about a psychiatrist who messed them up even more through misdiagnosis, over-medicating them, or both. We bipolar folks may have a more antagonistic relationship to psychiatry than others because we are so often misdiagnosed; A survey taken by The Guardian in 2012 found that the average length of time between the onset of bipolar disorder and accurate diagnosis is thirteen years. (It was sixteen for me, and another year after that before a doctor recognized my PTSD.)

However, I am convinced that the author of, a Doctor Jim Phelps, is one of the good guys. I may be biased because I like his down-to-earth writing style, but beyond that this is an extremely helpful and comprehensive resource. The site is chock full of info about new and emerging research in illness and treatment. It includes tips for non-pharmaceutical treatment methods (hello Omega-3’s!) and Dr. Phelps isn’t shy about sharing his own critiques of mainstream psychiatry. I highly recommend it.

2 Responses to “–FANTASTIC web resource for bipolar disorder”

  1. Laura K Kerr at 7:19 pm #

    Thanks for sharing the resource. Like you, I like the idea of a spectrum model of affective disorders.

    • evewc18 at 11:13 am #

      It’s great to see opposition, debate, and alternate methodologies surfacing as they prepare to release the DSM-5. I’m not completely anti-DSM but it’s obviously flawed and relying on a single diagnostic tool is seriously dogmatic. Bipolar disorder has so many permutations and flimsy boundaries; a spectrum model is a much better fit.

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