Hero/ Not a Hero

Hero/ Not a Hero

  • Submitted By: tobias
  • Date Submitted: 02/15/2009 6:23 PM
  • Category: History Other
  • Words: 3277
  • Page: 14
  • Views: 446

With the broadening and softening of the criteria needed to label someone with bipolar disorder and aggressive marketing campaigns by pharmaceutical companies, millions of people are being told they have a severe psychiatric disorder and are being prescribed powerful antipsychotic medications. In fact, most are normal people dealing normally with everyday life issues.


Stephen Ray Flora is a psychology professor and behavior analyst at Youngstown State University and author of Power of Reinforcement (SUNY Press 2004) and Taking America off Drugs: Why Behavioral Therapy is More Effective for Treating ADHD, OCD, Depression, and Other Psychological Problems (SUNY Press 2007). E-mail: srflora [at] ysu.edu. Sarah Elizabeth Bobby is a psychology graduate of Youngstown State University.

When the FDA approves an existing drug for the treatment of a new disease, drug companies rake in the profits without expending capital.
“Bipolar disorder,” originally known as manic-depression, has been acknowledged as a problem for centuries. However, until very recently, it was considered a very rare and severe condition. Now diagnoses of “bipolar spectrum” disorders are reaching epidemic proportions. Nothing has changed in humans’ biology or natural environment to account for this rise in diagnoses. What does account for the increase is a “softening” of the criteria needed to diagnose a person with bipolar, an increase in aggressive marketing of new profitable prescription drugs for bipolar, and psychiatrists “upcoding” problems to get higher insurance reimbursement rates. A likely outcome of this increase in labeling people “bipolar” is not that more people in need of help are getting it but instead that millions of people are unnecessarily being put on powerful antipsychotic medications.

As the name suggests, people labeled bipolar are believed to alternate between the emotional extremes, or poles, of mania and depression....

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