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Andrea G.'s picture

Fixing what isn't broken

Like many people have already mentioned, I've been thinking a lot about "broken brains" since Tuesday night.  We talked briefly about bipolar disorder and whether, for some people, crushing depression is a small price to pay in exchange for incredibly productive periods of mania.  For these people, even though they recognize that their mood fluctuations are not "normal" (whatever that is), they don't consider themselves disabled.  Some might even consider themselves particularly fortunate to be able to be so artistically productive for whatever period of time they are allowed by their manic states.  If a group of people who have been diagnosed with a disorder don't consider themselves to be broken, are we justified in trying to fix them?
I'm struggling with ideas that seem mutually exclusive to me right now.  I can't imagine a world where we don't treat psychological disorders, especially ones that have fairly effective (and always improving) treatment options.  But if we look at things like bipolar disorder as a difference, and not a disability, wouldn't treating it seem unethical?  I'm certainly not arguing that we shouldn't treat conditions that we know can be managed with drugs.  I'm simply trying to reconcile my contradictory thoughts.  I'd be interested to hear what anyone else thinks about the matter.

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