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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Mental Illness | Catherine Zeta-Jones Treated For Bipolar II Disorder

Catherine Zeta-Jones
On April 14th, a news item shot all over the web: Catherine Zeta-Jones was treated for Bipolar II Disorder. Reports tended to be brief and some had differing facts, but few explained what Bipolar II Disorder is.

Some of the reports said she was treated at a mental health facility in Connecticut for five days earlier in the month. Other articles reported that she was in a hospital, mental hospital, and even a mental institution. All of these terms are cast under the pall of the stigma of mental illness.

When you first hear the term Bipolar II Disorder, your first thoughts are probably, "Ewwww... a mental illness." But you really don't understand what that illness is all about.

I have Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar Disorder used to be known as Manic-Depressive Syndrome. People who suffer from the disorder experience abnormal highs and lows in their moods, going from periods of mania to periods of prolonged depression.

There is actually a grouping of various degrees of Bipolar Disorder called the Bipolar Spectrum. Catherine Zeta-Jones was treated for Bipolar II Disorder, which means she leans more toward the depressive side than the manic side. There are "gold standard" medications like Lithium and Lamictal that have been used for years to help stabilize the mood. Often an anti-depressant is part of the treatment.

What people don't understand is that Bipolar Disorder is treatable and if the patient follows their treatment plan, they can live normal and productive lives.

But still the stigma remains. "Ewwww... a mental illness. I thought there was something wrong with him."

Most people don't know that many of our greatest actors, actresses, artists, musicians and entrepreneurs have suffered from Bipolar Disorder.

Do any of these names sound familiar: Jim Carey, Robert Downey Jr., Ben Stiller, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Robin Williams, Jonathon Winters, Tim Burton, Francis Ford Coppola, Vincent Van Gogh, Beethoven, Buzz Aldrin, Peter Gabriel, Axl Rose, Phil Spector, Tom Waits, Dick Cavett, Jane Pauley, and Theodore Roosevelt? There are hundreds more.

Jimi Hendrix is on the list, too. He wrote a song called "Manic Depression."

Many of these same people have also been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. The highs of both Bipolar Disorder or Attention Deficit Disorder are where creative genius comes from.

I'll write more about ADD and ADHD in another post (I have that too).

However, Bipolar Disorder is a mental illness, but it is not something that people should use to color their opinion of a person.

Unlike conditions like Muscular Dystrophy or Multiple Sclerosis, mental illness is something that gives most people a creepy feeling.

I hope that someday I can help change that attitude, so when you hear Catherine Zeta-Jones is treated for Bipolar II Disorder you don't think, "Ewwww... a mental illness."

Related articles on this site:
Five Steps To Recovery From Mental Illness
Recovery From Mental Illness Should Include Groups
Mental Illness | My Psychiatrist Says My Mental Health Is Improving
The Stigma Of Mental Illness
Mental Illness | Mentally Ill Live Lives Of Quiet Shame, Anger Or Pain
Mental Illness | Catherine Zeta-Jones Treated For Bipolar II Disorder
How To Sleep Better By Using A Relaxation Technique
Mental Illness | Dealing With Symptoms of Panic Attacks And Anxiety Disorder

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1 comment:

  1. seems like I should make an appointment with my therapist...


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