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Psychiatric Evaluation and Diagnosis of Virginia Woolf Essay

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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. Acco...


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...c Depressive Illness. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Frances, A., & Ross, R. (1996). DSM-IV case studies a clinical guide to differential diagnosis. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press, Inc.
Miklowitz, D. G. and Otto, M.W. (2006). New Psychosocial Interventions for Bipolar Disorder: A review of literature and introduction of the systematic treatment enhancement program. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy. 20, 214-230.
National Institute of Mental Health. (2007) Bipolar Disorder. Bethesda, M.D.: US Department of Health And Human Services.
Schleicher, J. (2007). Mental illness and the creative process. Retrieved from http://www.onu.edu/node/26779
Uebelacker, L. A., Miller, I. W., Keitner, G. I., Ryan, C., & Solomon, D. A. (2006). The impact of family treatment on family functioning in Bipolar I disorder. Journal of Family Psychology. 20, 701-704.



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