Are we sure Carter.... : LUSENET : ER Discussions : One Thread

Are we sure Carter isn't bipolar? I had a friend who showed the exact same signs Carter did. She was always eager to please and tried to do everything and be perfect in everything. She went through depression but then always seemed happy after that. The only bad thing that ever happened to her was that her parents got divorced. Sadly she committed suicide a few years ago. It turned out she was bipolar. The doctor had told her parents that it was probably nothing and that this would pass. That doctor was an idiot apparently. Anyways my point is wouldn't Carter also be bipolar if he was showing the same signs my friend did. I don't want to give out my friend's name.

-- Cammie (, July 11, 2000


Did they decide that she was bipolar AFTER she committed suicide? I'm just asking, I hadn't thought it was something that could be diagnosed post-mortem.

As for the doctor being an idiot, well...Very often there is just no way to tell what's going on inside someone. There may be signs of trouble, but it's up to the family and friends to notice those signs, not the doctor, isn't it? Unless they were very obvious signs of distress that anyone could see, or chemical problems that would show up in lab testing. People who have mood disorders can pretend that nothing is wrong pretty well, and if there's nothing medical that shows up, a doctor might not have any reason to think anything is wrong. Just like with Carter (if it was bipolar, which I don't think it was--most of us tend to lean towards PTSD).

-- Cecelia (, July 11, 2000.

I was told by her mom that it was afterwards. She said that she went to a doctor afterwards to discuss it and that doctor said that it was bipolar. But it was too late then.

-- Cammie (, July 11, 2000.

In that case, the doctor WAS something of an idiot. If he KNEW your friend was bipolar...For God's sake, shouldn't he be sued for malpractice? I hate to advocate going ballistic and suing people right and left (since I think that's a huge problem in this country), but when a doctor makes a diagnosis and then says, "Oh, it'll pass," that's gross negligence--isn't it?

By the way, I should have said this before, but I'm very sorry about your friend. What a terrible thing to go through. *hugs*

-- Cecelia (, July 11, 2000.

I think (from what I've heard) that a lot of medical doctors don't make such great diagnoses when it comes to mental health. They tend to think everything should be cured with a pill. And too many people (not just doctors) have an attitude of "Oh, they will get over it" when it comes to depression and things like that, instead of taking it seriously and trying to get help for someone.

Anyway, I guess the ER writers are not going to go the bi-polar route with Carter, since they have done the drug addiction thing.

-- Melanie (, July 11, 2000.

You are so very right, Melanie!! People, not only doctors, feel that everything can be cured with a pill, and thankfully cases are being helped with a drug. I have panic disorder, and when I first was diagnosed, people could not understand it, and now they do have drugs out there to help people in my situation, however, I have chose not to use the medications (some days I wished I had never made that decision :-) But it is very hard to talk to people about it, because they just feel that it is all in my head. Concerning with Carter being BiPolar, I don't think the writers are going that way, as said above, looks like just a drug addiction (which is bad enough). Sorry to hear of your friend, suicide is rough when it is someone you know and are close to.

-- Paula (, July 11, 2000.

Well, since I am a psych major, I have been debating this idea ever since it came up on this board months ago. But the thing about bipolar, is it most commonly genetic and a chemical's not like he would just develop it because he had a traumatic event, that is definite PTSD (Doug and Carol even referred to Mark as having PTSD after his attack). A traumatic event could trigger it, but him actually developing it from this event is unlikely.

-- Elaine (, July 12, 2000.

You're right Paula, there is still a stigma towards people who have mental/mood disorders. It's unfortunate, especially if even doctors aren't taking it seriously. Hearing about Nicole's friend is very troubling, because it reminds us of how teen suicide is still such a problem, even though there are public service announcements, and school counsellors, etc. And it still happens, people just don't look for the signs, don't take them seriously when they see them.

If Carter hadn't been busted (i.e., if he had been smart and injected his drugs in the MEN'S ROOM instead of out in the open) then I can see him steadily declining and possibly even becoming suicidal. And if he hadn't been busted, none of his co-workers would have been able to do a damn thing. They just couldn't/wouldn't see ("It's Carter, your mind just doesn't go there").

-- Cecelia (, July 12, 2000.

I think the drug use, combined with the stress of the attack and its aftermath, could possibly have led to symptoms that mimic bipolar disorder. PTSD also has similar symptoms according to DSM. What troubles me now is that Carter only displayed PART of the diagnostic criteria for PTSD. (I looked it up.) So I'm just very puzzled.

-- S. Trelles (, July 17, 2000.

Well now I'm curious. Are the diagnostic criteria for PTSD such that they ALL have to be met in order for it to be PTSD? Or is there a list of symptoms, any combination of which would indicate PTSD? Is it too long to post here? (No medical background at all here, just an avid reader and TV watcher.)

-- Cecelia (, July 17, 2000.

Cecelia, no, a patient would not have to have every symptom. With most psych disorders, there is a set of the patient must have 5 of the listed symptoms to be diagnosed, for example, but there could be 10-12 symptoms listed. Or there could be a list of physical symptoms and mental symptoms and one would have to have a certain number of these symptoms from each group. This is why mental disorders are much harder/more vague to diagnose, and why I'm sure there is confusion here on this board. However, as they explained on the show, Carter's "bipolar" tendencies are explained by the drug abuse. If I *could* diagnose, I would without a doubt diagnose Carter with PTSD.

-- Elaine (, July 17, 2000.

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