Questioning a diagnosis of bipolar disorder is not surprising given the chronic and fluctuating nature of the illness. Qualitative research using thematic analysis was used to derive an understanding of the process patients used to make sense of their diagnosis of bipolar disorder. The findings suggested that receiving a diagnosis was an active process. Factors such as fluctuating moods, changing diagnoses or misdiagnosis, difficulties patients have differentiating self from illness, mistrust in mental health services, and experiences of negative side effects of medication can contribute to ambivalence about the diagnosis and lead to relapse. These findings highlight the need for clinicians to focus on patients’ perceptions of bipolar disorder and work with the ambivalence in the process of facilitating greater acceptance. This has the potential for reducing relapses through increased adherence with treatment.
Psychiatric Quarterly – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 25, 2010
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