Joanna Moncrieff believes that psychiatrists are over diagnosing Bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder used to consist of extreme mood swings, hallucinations, bizarre beliefs and dramatic changes in energy which all occurred over weeks to months but now many “normal” people are receiving the label.
The manufacturers of rare antipsychotic medication have set about changing the meaning of this once rare and distinctive condition, expanding its boundaries beyond recognition so that ‘bipolar disorder’ has become a label that can be attached to a whole myriad of common personal difficulties, who then become legitimate targets for antipsychotic treatment.
I tend to still favor the idea of a mood spectrum since many traits in nature tend to be distributed in a bell curve like fashion. Extroversion/Introversion is one example of this. In the Myers and Briggs indicator extroversion/ introversion preferences are being tested for and when researchers looked at distibutions of scores of various preferences, most had a bell curve distribution. In this distribution most people fall on the borderline and the test somewhat arbitrarily says you are either an introvert or an extrovert.
I can see mood disorders being distributed in a similar fashion except this time perhaps the dichotomy would be instability/stability of mood. Many people would fall in the middle with a mild mood disturbance. What is questionable though are those Bipolar II individuals who border the “normal” area and one tail of the curve. Moncrieff would like to absorb the Bipolar II individuals into the normal part of the curve which would make Bipolar all or nothing however nature is rarely this black and white.