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Preview: Comments on: Bipolar Disorder Scapegoated on Oprah

Comments on: Bipolar Disorder Scapegoated on Oprah

Dr. John Grohol's daily update on all things in psychology and mental health. Since 1999.

Last Build Date: Sat, 20 Jan 2018 10:02:17 +0000


By: JustJack

Wed, 28 Oct 2009 21:52:35 +0000

I was horrified at the way Oprah handled this and other episodes of such a serious and sober nature. I don't buy the excuse that she's merely an "Entertainer." She is more than that and bears the burden of that greater responsibility that she herself insists she has. And to the poster that advocates calling the police (because we're so dangerous and volatile), my god. In my county, per the Sheriff dept's own fatal shooting records, a BP person has a 77.6% chance of being shot and killed as a result of such a well-intentioned but overly hysterical phone call to the police. People around bipolars need to learn how to handle it instead of copping/chickening out and calling local law enforcement who is more likely to fatally shoot the bipolar than "save" them. Thanks to Oprah's mishandling of bipolar disorder, despicable and attitudes that promote law enforcement as the stable hand are utterly clueless and utterly irresponsible. It's time for this nonsense to stop. As more of us put our dis-order in-order, we need the public to NOT complicate our situations and make things worse. Law enforcement is utterly Unhelpful and ill equipped to handle us. Period. All Oprah did was make a mess. She bears the burden of cleaning it up. Why doesn't she put Tim Wooton on? She could still get big pharmas advert dollars...

By: Oprah: The 7 Year Old With Schizophrenia | World of Psychology

Tue, 27 Oct 2009 18:18:12 +0000

[...] highlight this kind of case on an entire show devoted to it. Kind of smells opportunistic. But it wouldn’t be the first time Oprah took the sensationalistic route in portraying a mental disord... for ratings, rather than helping people truly understand people’s living with [...]

By: Michelle Mainwaring

Thu, 01 Oct 2009 04:26:24 +0000

I have written to Oprah about the work we are doing on bipolar reply...all three times. What we are doing is promoting treatment, letting people know they are not alone (those living with bipolar and those who love them), reducing stigma attached to the illness dramatically. We just keep hoping that somebody with some pull will help us to keep doing the work we are compelled to do and that is helping so many. Cheers! Check out our efforts at

By: C.W.

Thu, 04 Jun 2009 18:08:20 +0000

I find it unfortunate when television shows sensationalize the disease painting sufferers with a broad brush stroke. I have a bipolar loved one and I feel safe around him. Mentally ill and non-mentally ill people both hurt and kill others. It's not just exclusive to bipolar disorder. I share info on the disorder on my blog

By: Lisa K.

Wed, 15 Oct 2008 17:29:37 +0000

1) To Blue, I love how you worded this truth: "The truth is however that those who sucessfully manage are marked by greater personal awareness, tenacious self-management, and introspective self monitoring. That makes them stronger and more self aware than the average bear." I will remember that when folks start to get me down. 2) There's a new musical out about bipolar disorder. It's amusing the reactions I often get, but I'm serious. If anyone's near the Washington D.C. area, see for info. Dear Anonymous, the show's plot definitely covers the perspective of the husband of a woman with bipolar disorder. He gets "his song" (more than one, actually) to tell of his side, which is amazing to see portrayed on stage. The show speaks to everyone's perspective, incl. the teenage son and daughter who do not have bipolar. Any questions, feel free to hit me up here: - thanks! Lisa K.

By: sads

Thu, 10 Apr 2008 15:14:26 +0000

godbless u its just bipolar disorder god knows everything god loves us its true love,love,love its amazing therapy

By: Stigmatized « Bipolar State of Mind

Thu, 03 Jan 2008 00:38:46 +0000

[...] Stigmatized It seems as if ever since I “outed” myself to my friend, Jason, last August, my disorder has been bandied about everywhere.  From Oprah and 60 Minutes, to television commercials, to the latest news account of some bipolar so-and-so pulling some bat-shit crazy stunt, this disease…affliction…disorder…whatever… has hit the mainstream. [...]

By: Suze

Tue, 02 Oct 2007 18:57:29 +0000

I don't expect anyone to be concerned about my bipolar "plight" -- but the TRUTH is that I couldn't be less dangerous. You probably aren't even aware of how many people you meet with BP disorder, because we can live pretty normal lives. This is horrible misinformation, Anonymous. Your situation "counts" -- but it is YOUR situation, YOUR relative, not everyone with BP. The fact that you have met some other people also struggling (a support group?) is also not evidence that everyone with BP is dangerous, or causing their families to live a "life of turmoil." (Mine isn't!) A few people who committed some offense or other and also had BP are being held up as evidence that everyone with the disorder is a sort of human pit bull, just waiting for the bad stimuli to maul someone. It is undoubtedly true that a good many criminal offenders are mentally ill, but that doesn't imply that everyone who is mentally ill is dangerous. You are looking at this from the wrong end of the telescope: instead of looking at the few people with BP who are dangerous and extrapolating that across the whole population of people with BP, you need to look at the whole population of people with BP and determine what percentage are dangerous (by whatever definition of dangerous), and if it is statistically significantly different from the general population, and if so by what degree.

By: Anonymous

Tue, 02 Oct 2007 16:26:09 +0000

Not to be a jerk and all, but those of us who have lived with a person with bipolar, or been dependent on someone with it, get tired of hearing how we should all pity the people with bipolar, how we should be compassionate and understanding and bend over backwards. You know, I've yet to meet a person with a mother or father, husband or wife with bipolar who hasn't lived a life of turmoil. Likewise, when I had to call the cops on my dangerous relative with bipolar, all I had to mention was this person was bipolar and the cops knew it was serious. Turns out they get calls of that nature a lot, at least in the region I was in. But I suppose my experiences, and many of the experiences of others affected by those with bipolar, do not count, because we aren't being sympathetic enough, right? Pardon my anger, but I grow so sick of hearing about the plight of those with bipolar; one need only glance at your Q&As to see that there is a plight found in those living around it, too. All that being said, Oprah is entertainment (all television that works for ratings is, including the news), not education, so I don't know why people expected more this time than any other.

By: Hollywood » Bipolar Disorder Scapegoated on Oprah

Mon, 01 Oct 2007 05:31:11 +0000

[...] StaceyKann wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptWe missed the discussion of bipolar disorder on Oprah that occurred on Monday of this week, but Furious Seasons caught it. He believes the program “paint[ed people with bipolar disorder] as inherently violent and dangerous.” … [...]

By: Teen Mental Disorders Treated Seriously | Troubled Teen Blog

Sun, 30 Sep 2007 22:49:50 +0000

[...] (source) Relevant Tags:bi polar disorder, mental disorders, oprah, teen drug abuse Posted on Monday, September 3rd, 2007 at 3:46 pm In Teen Drug Abuse   ©2007 Troubled Teen Options The information found on this site is the sole opinion of the author and does not represent any legal, medical, or professional advice. [...]

By: See? Told ya’ « bipolar chicks blogging

Sat, 29 Sep 2007 14:41:40 +0000

[...] If you missed it, you can read about it here and here.   [...]

By: The Individual Voice

Sat, 29 Sep 2007 12:54:07 +0000

I just blogged a post on Thursday "As Many Kinds as People with Them" about diversity within diagnoses. I am a psychologist with a mood disorder and was struck how different all my mood disordered patients are from each other and from me. Stereotyping a disorder is as bad as stereotyping an ethnicity.

By: J. Mallett

Sat, 29 Sep 2007 08:58:05 +0000

Have been reading the comments from the Oprah show on bipolar disorder. The show was recommended to me, but I'm glad I didn't see it. I've been bp since I was 13, and am now 50. It still amazes me that someone like Oprah would not have the most recent info on the illness. I guess sensationalism is the name of the game, but she could have done so much good by being accurate. I like the comments on some of the blogs that she should devote an entire week to mental illnesses. There is certainly enough material - sensational & otherwise!

By: D. Blue

Fri, 28 Sep 2007 12:05:17 +0000

Oprah could use her venue for good. Doing a bit of counter thematic research would reveal that those who suffer from Bipolar disorder are no more inclined toward violence that the normal slice of humanity. The truth is however that those who sucessfully manage are marked by greater personal awareness, tenacious self-management, and introspective self monitoring. That makes them stronger and more self aware than the average bear.