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Psychiatric Evaluation And Diagnosis Of Virginia Woolf

1015 words - 4 pages

I have chosen to write about Virginia Woolf, a British novelist who wrote A Room of One’s Own, To the Lighthouse and Orlando, to name a few of her pieces of work. Virginia Woolf was my first introduction to feminist type books. I chose Woolf because she is a fantastic writer and one of my favorites as well. Her unique style of writing, which came to be known as stream-of-consciousness, was influenced by the symptoms she experienced through her bipolar disorder. Many people have heard the word "bipolar," but do not realize its full implications. People who know someone with this disorder might understand their irregular behavior as a character flaw, not realizing that people with bipolar mental illness do not have control over their moods. Virginia Woolf’s illness was not understood in her lifetime. She committed suicide in 1941.
Several theories exist as to what might lead a person to develop bipolar disorder. In Virginia Woolf's case, many scholars related her illness to childhood sexual abuse by her older stepbrothers, on the basis of Freudian theory (Carmango, 1992). Uebelacker (2006) researches correlations between family functioning and the course of bipolar disorder and finds that stable family relationships would likely make it easier for bipolar family members to manage their symptoms. In Woolf's case, family problems may have played a major role, not in the development of her disease, but in the onsets of her episodes (Carmango, 1992). A person’s environmental forces do not cause bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder is a lifelong mood disorder characterized by periods of mania, depression, or a mixed manic-depressive state. The condition can seriously affect a person’s reasoning, understanding, awareness, and behavior. According to the DSM-IV TR (2000), bipolar disorder is categorized as a mood disorder. The term “bipolar disorder” includes bipolar I, bipolar II, cyclothymic disorder, and bipolar disorder not other wise specified (Kupfer. 2004).
A person may have bipolar if they have had episodes of depression as well as mania, without taking any substances that may trigger these symptons. This paper will focused mostly on Bipolar II since Virginia Woolf would b diagnosed with it if she were alive today.
Bipolar II entails having recurrent major depressive episodes with hypomanic episodes. Means that most of the time the person will be depressed and not as likely to have manic episode even though they tend to happen. When manic episodes happen with depressive disorders, more often or stronger, then it is a bipolar I diagnosis. In bipolar II the symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning (DSM-IV TR). Severe episodes of depression, but episodes of mania are milder and are known as hypomania. Hypomania is the same symptoms as in mania, except not as severe.
Typically periods of symptoms are separated by periods that are symptom free. However, with increasing...

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