Psychiatric Conditions: Bias and Shame

Question Description

It is highly recommended that you also watch one or two of the videos on mental illness from the TED playlist, All kinds of minds (9 talks), as these provide valuable insights into a variety of disorders and the issues associated with them.

For this discussion, refer to the information in the “Introduction to the Miller Family document.” Lucy Miller is a 20-year-old college student who has recently been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  Sarah Miller, her mother, recalls that as a teen, Lucy would get very talkative at night and couldn’t go to sleep.  Sarah also recalled that Lucy was kicked off the cheerleading squad when her GPA fell below 3.0, and that during this time, Lucy’s friends were being mean to her. When this occurred, Lucy was “really down” for a couple of months.  She didn’t want to talk to a counselor and she told her mother Sarah that she would be fine. Lucy blamed the entire situation on the issues with the girls in her class. However, coping with the mood swings became increasingly difficult for her. Lucy began experimenting casually with illegal drugs and found that they helped. Unfortunately, she kept getting them from friends at school and has now become addicted to them.

Examine the potential biological basis for Lucy’s psychological disorder. What, if anything, in her family history might point to this issue being hereditary?  Be sure to apply basic medical terminology where appropriate. Consider the biases that are often held regarding mental illness.  How much volition is involved in mental illness?  How much is related to environment and genetics?  Do we think about mental illness differently when we know the person well versus if the person is a stranger (e.g., a homeless individual or a panhandler on the street)?  Analyze the impact that our stage of lifespan development has on how we think of our own mental health and the mental health of others. What impact does it have on our associated behaviors and the long-term outcomes associated with the disorder? 


Unformatted Attachment Preview

SOC313 Introduction to the Miller Family Sarah (40 yrs) and Joe Miller (43 yrs) are at the center of this family. [See the geneology maps (family trees) for both Sarah and Joe below.] They are a middle aged couple, married 21 years with three children. Their children are Lucy (20 yrs), Josh (17 yrs), and Abe (12 yrs). Lucy has had struggles with substance abuse, along with having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Josh has been sneaking away with friends and smoking pot. Abe is a good student but has started to act out recently. Sarah’s parents are Donna and Manny Maldonado. Manny is third generation Hispanic American from Mexico. Donna has long suffered from her “moods” which is mostly frustrating to Manny. He says it’s “brujeria” (related to witches and magic). He worries that someone puts spells on her. They both are fluent in Spanish, Donna having learned as a result of being with Manny and around his family. Sarah is their oldest daughter followed by her brother, Mike (36) and then sister Becky (33). Becky, divorced, has one child, Elías (10 yrs old) who was recently diagnosed with Leukemia. Mike is alone, having recently suffered the loss of his companion of many years to AIDS. He is secretly also concerned that he might be HIV+. Joe’s parents are Ella and John Miller. Ella is at the center of our story as she has been trying to heal herself from breast cancer through the use of a variety of natural means. She was raised on a farm and is not very trusting of “modern medicine.” Her husband, (Joe’s father) John is of American Indian origin. He uses a variety of traditional methods for health and well being and as a means of banishing bad spirits from their home. Ella’s mother passed away over ten years ago but her father is still alive. He is often referred to as the “shakey grandpa” by the grandchildren and great grandchildren due to the manifestation of some symptoms of his Parkinson’s disease. Joe has a sister, Lila (45 yrs), who has diabetes and who has always struggled with her weight. She and her husband have one child, Alisha (20), who’s currently in college. Joe’s older brother Sam (50 yrs), was married and then divorced years ago, has one son from whom he is estranged. He is an alcoholic who hasn’t been able to keep a job for years. The family and extended family get along well for the most part though the many cultural traditions and backgrounds do clash from time to time. Manny, for example, has been known to say, “They’re crazy!” when the family discusses some of the health issues that are going on and how they are being handled. At one time, for example, Ella’s skin turned orange due to the amount of carrot and other juices she was consuming in order to get rid of her cancer. Sarah has been married to Joe long enough to know her well and when her sister Becky’s son Elias was recently diagnosed with Leukemia, Ella was hopeful that Sarah would encourage Becky to use natural means for treating him. Sarah isn’t really too sure about how she feels about it. Sara Miller’s family tree Joe Miller’s family tree ...
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