Hi, I'm Brooke Alexander and you're watching Spotlight on Bipolar. Bipolar disorder is one of the most misunderstood illnesses in America today.
But while it's true, there are still work to be done to shake the stigma surrounding BP. Society's stance on Mental Illness has made great strives over the years.
Things started off strong when second century greek physicist, Aretaeus of Cappadocia first identified mania and depression as two separate forms found within the same illness.
From there, Greeks and Romans began prescribing spa treatments for both their agitated and euphoric patients believing that the lithium salts naturally contained in these waters
had healing benefits when absorbed into the skin but, from 300 to 500 AD unable to explain the unfamiliar behavior of people with mental illnesses.
Europeans believe these people were possessed by the devil. For centuries to come, treatment often read more like punishment.
The mentally ill were restrained with chains giving odd potions and subject to crude rituals such as bloodletting and an early form of shock therapy using electric eels.
These rituals to us seemed superstitious and perhaps even cruel but Christians believe that by casting out devils from the mentally ill, they were saving their souls.
The 1700 and 1800's were not much better. Shunned from society, people with bipolar disorder were placed in remote institutions where they were often subject to physical, mental and sexual abuse.
But in 1850's, a wave of research brought a great progress to the public's perception of mental illness.
In his medical reports, French psychiatrist, Jean-Pierre Falret, outlined the differences between simple depression and heightened moods.
And in 1875, Dr. Falret first referred to bipolar disorder as an illness labeling it manic-depressive psychosis.
Despite scientific breakthrough, early 20th century treatment of mental illnesses still resembled a bad horror film.
Lobotomies were commonly prescribed in the late 1930's to the 1960's. The 1930's has also brought Electroshock Therapy into practice.
This form of the now highly regulated treatment was administered involuntarily sometimes as many as 12 times a day.
But the 1950's and 1960's however, the discovery of new drugs for treating mental illness made these older therapies obsolete.
In 1968, bipolar disorder was reclassified as manic-depressive illness in both the International Classification of Diseases and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
The decade that followed introduced a surge in legislature protecting people with mental illnesses.
In 1972, a new mandate in community care for residents with mental illnesses introduced minimum standards, staffing and safeguarding requirements for psychiatric institutions.
That same here, the right to public school education was granted to all school aged Americans living with mental illness.
Those same rights are preserved today by the individuals with disabilities education act.
Advocacy by and for psychiatric patients began to occur. This continued throughout the 1980's culminating in the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990.
Today, thanks to the work of those before us. People with bipolar disorder find a variety of choices in medications, care and support and the best is yet to come.
Tune in to our upcoming segment on Testing for Bipolar Disorder for a sneak peak into the future of BP research and diagnosis.
That's it for this episode of Spotlight on Bipolar. We'll see you next time.