More people are being labelled as BAD! – Bipolar Affective Disorder

Bipolar Affective Disorder = BAD, was created as a new category of ‘mental illness’ in 1980 by its inclusion in the Psychiatrists’ Diagnostic Manual. Prior to 1980 almost no one had heard of bipolar disorder. A story was created saying that this ‘illness’ was simply the renaming of manic depression and gradually more and more people came to believe this story.

Manic Depression was a very rare diagnosis. Bipolar is not just common, it has become an epidemic.

From one person in 10,000 being affected, psychiatry now claims that about 1 in 4 people are now in the bipolar spectrum and the number affected is increasing. Strangely, we are also told it is genetic. The story just does not make sense. A genetic problem does not go from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 4 in one generation.

What is really going on?

Firstly, Bipolar is not an illness or even a disorder. It is a label given to people who have emotional difficulties. Anyone can have emotional difficulties. These tend to be caused by relationships (e.g. a relative dying), where we live (e.g. having your home repossessed), not knowing how to take care of ourselves (e.g. eating too much carbohydrate or not getting outdoors in daylight) and concerns about the future.

People react to emotional difficulties in different ways. For those who are unable to turn to friends and family a coping mechanism is visiting the GP. In the western world GP’s have been told that emotional difficulties are best treated with sedative drugs and readily prescribe these. Unfortunately, despite many unpleasant side-effects these drugs are addictive. Once started most people find they cannot cope without the drugs. Drugs tend to destabilize moods further, such that:

Emotional difficulties >>> a visit to the GP >>> prescription drugs >>> drug induced emotional difficulties >>> visit to psychiatrist has become the most common route into the ‘bipolar club’.

The last step of labeling used to be exclusively by psychiatrists. With getting on for a quarter of the population believing they need a ‘bipolar label’ the psychiatrists have not been keeping up with the demand they helped to create. An increasingly common route has become via the internet. People are looking at lists of warning signs of emotional difficulties that have been relabeled as ‘bipolar symptoms’ and recognize themselves. Well, really it is not so much themselves they recognize but their recent way of living and coping with emotional difficulties.

Having convinced themselves by reading and often completing an on-line ‘Am I Bipolar?’ quiz, they go to see the GP and present their ‘symptoms’ just as described on-line. This describing our life in terms of symptoms tends to convince GP’s who have been trained to believe bipolar is a brain disorder, that the patient has this disorder. The GP may or may not write, BIPOLAR, but tends to allow the patient to leave with the belief they have a mental illness and that they are bipolar.

The idea of ‘I am bipolar’ has spread around the world. This has further promoted bipolar as a disorder people are being born with and something that stays for life.

There are other ways the disorder is growing. For now though:

Explore the idea that bipolar is more of a label than a diagnosis

About Roger Smith (in the UK)
Helping you to think about bipolar disorder in different ways so that we can eliminate the disorder and eventually eliminate the need for this diagnosis.

6 Responses to More people are being labelled as BAD! – Bipolar Affective Disorder

  1. Jeff says:

    So true. The problem here is psychiatrists and Big Pharma create these label and the rules for diagnosing them. they are the experts people go to for help. Psychiatrists make more money if the can see a patient more… thus write more prescriptions, diagnose more conditions. Big Pharma makes money treating the side effects their meds cause.

    Educate yourself and take more control of your own wellness.


    • Thank you for your continuing support. Have you read Mood Mapping by Dr Liz Miller? Gives a useful alternative view from doctor who got labeled as bipolar, quickly came off the psychiatric drugs and started to write about an alternative way of looking at moods.


  2. Annette Monckton says:

    Totally support your view and thank you for sharing! After conducting my own research into mental health, I was shocked at how many inconsistencies there are in the assessment and treatment of those mentally challenged. I inadvertently found myself detained in a psychiatric ward for 21 days after a manic episode which was caused by sleep deprivation. Adrenaline was the key! I was testing my mental and physical boundaries as part of the research. Unbeknownst to the medical team, I had bypassed the system and not consumed the medication they were forcing me to take. One can only imagine what they thought when I confessed 17 days after admission. What I was able to observe, analyze and evaluate was shocking hence the reason for recently self publishing my book Crazy Normal, Normal Crazy! (It is available on if you are interested). I believe that the more people willing to share their views or stories will eventually assist those in need. Sometimes we forget to trust ourselves and rely on those who don’t know us, which makes no sense at all! You also wonder how much money exchanges hands at the detriment of the vulnerable! It’s deplorable!


  3. Ruth says:

    Maybe I’m not bipolar;I know I have mood swings but they are severe(especially depression)and last for months.
    Before I felt like this if I felt moody I usually slept it off. A good nights sleep sorted me out but things are different now and I am in the medication loop-frightened that if I cut down then I will feel worse.
    So I accept that life is different and not easy. I have spent a lot of time learning how to deal with mood swings and next week I am going to Dr Miller’s Mindmapping course. I’m looking forward to adding more self help techniques with her help.


  4. Hi,

    This is such a nice blog and It is really helpful for me, But i am looking for the bipolar affective disorder related post,So please suggest and share if you have.



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