Carter's "Bipolar Thing" : LUSENET : ER Discussions : One Thread

All throughout this board recently, we've been speculating about Carter having a meltdown and being diagnosed as "bipolar". For anyone out there who has knowledge in the field,here is my question: Is this a disorder that would lie dormant for 20+ years and only be kicked into high gear in the event of a trauma or would it strike suddenly and without warning or would the victim exhibit worsening symptoms over time or what?

-- Linda (, April 11, 2000


All of the above. The experts (whoever they are) say that this disorder can lie dormant in a person for many years. Many things can cause it to come out. Among these are trauma and feelings of abandonment. There are others, too, but I can't remember. The severe trauma Carter experienced with the stabbing could definately bring it out. It could also strike suddenly. The person's symptoms could definately worsen over time left untreated. There are alot of symptoms, or maybe effects of this disorder. Some involve an urge to buy anything and everything whether you need it or not, alcholism, uncontrollable temper, and other erratic behaviors. Bipolar is a disorder of extremes. A person can be unbelievably high (known as the manic phase)or incredibly low (known as the depressive phase). In the manic phase, a it is easy to mistakenly assume (although sometimes it is true) that a person is high on drugs. In the depressive phase, a person can be completely suicidal. In most people, it is treatable with a drug such as lithium. No, I'm not a medical person, but one of my grandmas was bipolar, and I definately saw her in both phases. For those of you who know more about this, I'm sorry if I gave wrong information or if it has changed since I first learned about it. (It was way back in junior high and some high school when I studied it.) :) Please correct me if I'm wrong.

-- Kristal (, April 11, 2000.

I was just studying Bi-polar disorder in school this past week. As Kristal stated above, bi-polar disorder can lay dormant for years, and when a traumatic event occurs, it can suddenly come to the surface. I would like to add this, however-- my professor told us that even if the disorder is dormant, through out the years there must, or there would likely be, subtle symptoms of the future disorder. If a person has bouts of light depression, or has suffered short-lived bouts of alcoholism, these can all be hints that the person *may* develop BPD later in life. And he also added that even if the person has bouts of these, BPD may never surface, ever, if a violent, traumatic event doesn't trigger it. It is a disease of extremes, but different people react to it in different ways.

In regards to Carter possibly developing Bi-polar Disorder, I can definately see that it would be possible. If I remember correctly, I also read that certain build-ups of events contribute to Bi-polar disorder. Death, losing many close ones, etc can all lead up to Bi- polar disorder when a traumatic event happens to a person. Carter has definately faced many deaths/ tragedies-- Chase od'ing, Grant dying etc. He's also been dumped by many of his girlfriends, or has been in sucky relationships. And the thing is, he's keeping it all bottled up inside-- so even if the knifing doesn't cause Bi-polar disorder, most definately it would release some of his previous feelings of guilt and/or sadness.

Much as I think it's medically possible for Carter to develop Bi- polar disorder, I would hate for the writers to develop this story. Had they given hints of Carter maybe having BPD much before, I would find it more plausible. But also from a story line point of view-- it would really be a dead-end for the character. So he's diagnosed, he undergoes treatment, we see outbursts, and he hopefully gets better-- end of story. I would much rather have scenes where he talks about his feelings, that he develops into a better doctor, or perhaps a better teacher. I'd like to see him interact with friends-- I'd like to see the upcoming anger featured in the spoilers to be stemming from his honest feelings about the attact rather than from a medical condition he didn't know about himself. That's just MPOV, but I must say it's very possible to see Carter develop into a Bi-polar.

-- Samira (, April 11, 2000.

It is highly unlikely that Carter will become bipolar. There have been sarcastic comments made about Carter on reviews and articles about his bipolar personality, regarding his sudden moodiness that started last season and his odd love/hate/brotherly/passionate relationship with Lucy. I think that the tabloid was being sarcastic, though I could be wrong. Some of the rest has been surprisingly true, like Kerry and Romano, but the bipolar/suicide storyline seems over the top. I am a psych major and I have previously commented about this. Post traumatic stress syndrome would make much more sense. Bipolar disorder takes awhile to diagnose and a person needs to show extreme symptoms for at least a few months. Carter is not showing that. I think this week, we will see insight to Carter's problems, but I don't think it will be that drastic. I agree that I hope we see others help him. Maybe he will have a breakdown and maybe he will decide to miss Lucy (hopefully, a little!), but I don't know about the rest.

-- Elaine (, April 11, 2000.

Thank you, Samira, for helping to clear some things up, and bringing out other points. I was racking my brain and couldn't remember much more than I said. For anyone who is interested, the actress Patty Duke has this disorder, and has written at least two books on it. *Call Me Anna*,(her autobiography) and *A Brilliant Madness*. (Or something like that) There is also a movie based on her autobio. that is on tv once a year or something. It's really good at showing and explaining.

-- kristal (, April 12, 2000.

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