Bipolar Disorder Case Study

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Bipolar Disorder in the Primary Care Setting
Mental disorders can severely affect an individual’s cognition and functionality. “Bipolar disorder (BD) represents a major public health concern; the World Health Organization (WHO) ranks BD as the sixth leading cause of years lost due to disability in young adults” (Rosa et al., 2010, p. 984). A case of a 24-year-old patient (Carla) with history of major depression and substance abuse was presented. Carla’s primary care physician (Dr. Benson) had been contacted by the patient’s concerned mother (Sandy) due to Carla’s increasingly erratic behavior. Upon a comprehensive evaluation in the office, Dr. Benson arrived to the conclusion that Carla exhibited signs and symptoms of an acute manic episode commonly seen in BD. However, Dr. Benson’s refused to start Carla on therapy until she underwent a complete mental evaluation and was diagnosed by a psychiatrist. Unfortunately, the nearest specialist was 100 miles away from the rural area where the event took place and Sandy was unable to transport Carla. To ethically analyze this case, it is important to understand Carla’s possible mental disorder, how it affected her competence and autonomy, and the physician’s moral obligations to ensure Carla’s well-being.
Bipolar disorder is a chronic mental condition characterized by episodes of major depression and mania or hypomania. There are two categories of
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221). PCPs have a dual moral obligation of effectively treating patients while protecting the public’s safety. Even after establishment of a treatment protocol by a specialist, PCPs may be the most influential health care providers in maintaining BD controlled during patients’ long-term

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