So whom is the joke on here?
It seems to be composed from the point of view of the jaded psychiatric consumer patient, disturbed at the fact that her fairly unremarkable complaints are interpreted by her psychiatrist as symptoms of bipolar disorder, and how every problem’s solution seems to be a medication adjustment.
Indeed, most mental health conditions include, among their symptoms, common concerns like insomnia, poor attention/concentration, feelings of sadness, or (my personal favorite) “stress.” But the truth is that bipolar disorder (the topic of this video) is a serious illness which can, at times, be incapacitating and threaten one’s livelihood or even one’s life. Sleeplessness and “talking fast,” in and of themselves, do not make a bipolar diagnosis.
Watching the video as a psychiatrist, however, I’m reminded of the other side of the issue; namely, that patients will frequently come in with fairly ordinary complaints and profess that they must be “bipolar” or “depressed” or “anxious” and require medication. Sometimes this self-assessment is accurate, but other times it’s more appropriate to exercise restraint.
The truth remains that, while in some physician-patient encounters the doctor tries to diagnose and treat on the basis of few symptoms, at other times the patient actually wants the diagnosis and/or the drug. Which gives rise to the age-old
“slippery slope” in psychiatry, in which we deal with behaviors existing on a spectrum from normal to pathological. Where does “wellness” end and “illness” begin? And who makes this decision?