Using Discourse Analysis to Investigate How Bipolar Disorder Is Constructed as an Object

  • Lynere Wilson
  • Marie Crowe


The experiences now known as bipolar disorder have a long history as a focus of attention for psychiatry; from la folie circulaire (circular disorder) to manic depressive insanity to present day bipolar disorder (Goodwin & Jamison, 2007) psychiatry has worked hard to know, define, and claim expertise in the treatment of the disorder. As with many other health conditions which are understood to be incurable and relapsing, in contemporary mental healthcare there is an expectation that people can learn to live a life that is conducive to limiting relapse and, when a relapse does happen, an expectation that the person can learn to see the early signs of impending illness and take appropriate action (Colom & Vieta, 2006; Suto, Murray, Hale, Amari, & Michalak, 2010). As part of this movement towards greater self-management by individuals with long-term health conditions, mental health clinicians have led the development of psycho-education as an intervention. Psycho-education seeks to integrate a psychotherapeutic and educational approach to the way information is shared with people living with long-term conditions so that they learn more about the condition they are understood to have and how best to live with it (Ryglewicz, 1991). It is an intervention that is now recognised as an essential part of mental healthcare for people with bipolar disorder (Poole, Simpson, & Smith, 2012; Stern & Sin, 2012) to the point where it seems ‘common sense’ to expect that a person can learn to manage their own condition and to do so offers the possibility of a greater sense of control over one’s own life. Who would not want this?


Bipolar Disorder Discourse Analysis Bipolar Patient Mental Healthcare Subject Position 
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Recommended reading

  1. • Inder, M. L., Crowe, M. T., Joyce, P. R., Moor, S., Carter, J. D., & Luty, S. E. (2010). ‘I really don’t know whether it is still there’: Ambivalent acceptance of a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Psychiatric Quarterly, 81(2), 157–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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Copyright information

© Lynere Wilson and Marie Crowe 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lynere Wilson
  • Marie Crowe

There are no affiliations available

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