What does bipolar mean

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I heard in some of the spoilers that Carter will be diagnosed as bipolar. Can anybody tell what it means? This subject came up in one of the episodes before when there was a woman who had bipolar and Harper had to take a history on her. That woman also played the cello at the end of the episode.

-- abigail (abbyqueen@aol.com), March 21, 2000



Bipolar Disorder is a disorder that has cycles between manic episodes (where the person has great energy and enthusiasm for everything, fizzing over with ideas, talking and thinking so fast) and depressive episodes (where evergy and enthusiasm are gone, slow thinking, talking and moving). It is also called manic-depression. That is the severest form of it. There can be mild cases of it which, if Carter will have it, he would probably get.

Hope this helps. :)

-- Laura (slam11p@aol.com), March 21, 2000.

Realistically, if reality even matters here, Carter cannot be diagnosed with bipolar disorder this quickly...it takes a long time and at least a short history of observation to declare someone as bipolar, and since he has absolutely no prior history of extreme behavior, it is not likely. I am pretty sure of this, since I am a psych major. If it were a different show maybe this could happen, but ER has never gone that far. But I could be wrong, and Carter could end up just as STAR predicts on the season finale.

-- Elaine (mrsclooney78@hotmail.com), March 21, 2000.

I'm flipping through my DSM casebook looking for answers here, and I have to agree with Elaine. Diagnosis of bipolar would require a major reality suspension. Carter's, what close to 30 now? For Carter to have bipolar1 or bipolar2 or cyclothymic disorder (a related disorder) he would have already shown symptoms. Like Schizophrenia, it often becomes obvious in the early 20s. (Psych major Elaine, correct me if I'm wrong.) Generally overall performance (job, social life) would have been inconsistent, and we just haven't seen that. Also, in many cases, bipolar is something you are born with. (Studies have isolated a gene I think...) It usually isn't something you get from a traumatic event. I think PTSD or a major depressive episode (clinical depression) is more likely and certainly more realistic. This poor guy's certainly had enough to qualify. IMHO anyway...

Sorry this is so long, just wanted to explain.

-- Anon (trelles@ix.netcom.com), March 21, 2000.

Yes, thanks, Anon. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) makes much more sense in Carter's case. There are many other depressive/mood disorders that would play into Carter's experience much better than bipolar disorder, but PTSD would make the most sense. And yes, the onset for bipolar disorder are ages 18 and 22, very similar to schizophrenia. Bipolar disorder rarely appears in a person with no genetic link to manic depressive tendencies.

I think STAR was just being overly dramatic of Carter's predicted emotional ride for the upcoming episodes, and randomly chose bipolar disorder, because it's one of the more interesting psych disorders.

-- Elaine (mrsclooney78@hotmail.com), March 22, 2000.

Well, I can't vouch for what happens with Bi-polar 1 but I was diagnosed with Bi-polar 2 after an extremely difficult series of events happened in my life and I was unable to function. I am almost 30 and was diagnosed when I was 27. Bi-polar 2 is much easier to keep under control, and often people go undiagnosed with it for years and just get called "moody" or "emotional" as I was. Maybe the stress of the recent events of Carter's life could prompt more erratic behavior as it did with me. Just an opinion.

-- Barbara Sirois Doyle (barbara@sirois.com), March 23, 2000.

Hey, you beat me to what I was going to say - I too was diagnosed with Bipolar type 2, at 25 - my point was going to be that I was diagnosed that late. I will be disappointed if they try to pin bipolar on Carter, simply because it has not been a long enough observation period, and, while he seemed moody last season (ever since Anna left), I have yet to see his character display any tendencies toward mania.

-- Joann (joannshmiller@yahoo.com), March 23, 2000.

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