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The Impact of Bipolar Depression In Minority Women and its Impact on Society

The Impact of Bipolar Depression in Minority Women and its Impact on Society

Taquoia D. Kilby

Tallwood High School (Global Studies and World Languages Academy)

Instructor: Gregory Falls

December 17, 2018

The Impact of Bipolar Depression in Minority Women and its Impact on Society


The main focus of this research paper is Bipolar depression. It will go into detail about

how Bipolar depression impact one's life. The following topics will be discussed, Bipolar

depression within Minority and White women, percentage of subgroups that have Bipolar

Depression, economic status, economic impact, family dynamics, and long/short term health

impact. This is important to know, because not a lot of people are informed about the effects of

Bipolar depression. By reading this paper, it will help one to understand all the impacts Bipolar

depression has on one’s life.

The Impact of Bipolar Depression in Minority Women and its Impact on Society

Table of Contents


Table of Contents……………………………………………………………………………….....3


Bipolar depression within Minority women……..……………………………...5

Living in Poverty Vs. Living above Poverty………………………………....6

Economic Impact...………………………………………………......8

Family Dynamics……………………………………...9

Short Term/ Long- Term Health Impact….…………………………………………...11


Literature Review ……...……………………………………………………………….....13


The Impact of Bipolar Depression in Minority Women and its Impact on Society


There are about 325.7 million people that live in the United States of America. At least

5.7 million adults suffer from a mental illness called Bipolar Depression. (DBSA, 2018, P. 1).

Bipolar Depression is when one can have a Manic episode or can have a Depressive episode.

Both episodes can last from weeks to months. This disease is treatable, however, it is not

curable. This mental illness is developed when one is a teenager and it progresses as adulthood

approaches. There will be many talking points about Bipolar depression addressed in this paper.

Bipolar depression impacts Minority Women in their everyday lives more than White women,

even if they may face similar situations. The following will be covered; Bipolar depression

within Minority and White women, percentage of subgroups that have Bipolar Depression,

economic status, economic impact, family dynamics, and long/short term health impact. An area

that will be discussed is the percentage of subgroups that have Bipolar Depression. It will give

the percentages of Women who suffer from Bipolar Depression that live in poverty, the middle

class, and upper class. It will be a good transition to the another topic, which is the Economic

Status. This will address whether one social class is likely to receive the necessary medical

treatment or not. Another subject that is important to this paper, is the economic impact. The

paragraph will be detailed with how Bipolar Depression affects one’s job and career

opportunities. Family dynamics will also be a talking point. It will describe how women have

Bipolar depression and the effects it has on their families. Some women are the backbone of the

family, so it’s important to learn how the family will react. Lastly, the paper will describe the
The Impact of Bipolar Depression in Minority Women and its Impact on Society

long term effects of this disease. It will go into detail about additional concerns, for example

medication. This paper will not only be informative, but it will be an eye opener.

Bipolar Depression within Minority women:

There are many diseases that may seem to define an ethnicity or gender. Anyone can be

diagnosed with Bipolar Depression. However, women are 3 times as likely to have it than men,

and have more depressive episodes. (​Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 1997, P. 1) This important

to know, because this mental illness is often called “A women's disease”. Among the many

women that have this mental illness, they don’t share one race. According to African American

Health African Americans sometimes experience more severe forms of mental health conditions

due to unmet needs and other barriers. According to the Health and Human Services Office of

Minority Health, African Americans are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health

problems than the general population. (NAMI, p. 1) Plus African Americans are more likely to

not get treatment. This is due to the fact that they might not trust practitioners, they might not

have the money or insurance, fear what their families are going to say about it, be embarrassed,

or believe that their religion can “heal” them. African American women shouldn’t go untreated

or undiagnosed, because there are many ways to prevent them from having a high phase or a low


Hispanic women are more than likely to receive a misdiagnoses when it comes to Bipolar

Depression, Report higher levels of ​psychotic symptoms​, Experience higher ​levels of

impairment​, and are 30% less likely to be ​prescribed medication​ than non-hispanics. (​LaRae
The Impact of Bipolar Depression in Minority Women and its Impact on Society

LaBouff​, 2016) This shows that Hispanic women face almost similar problems as African

American women.

Studies show that Asian women have the ​highest suicide rate​ of all U.S. women, Are

20% more likely to be ​diagnosed with ​Bipolar Depression than whites, have the lowest rate of

use of ​mental health services​, have family members that are more likely to participate in

treatment decisions​, are least likely to use ​psychiatric medication​, have a higher ​rate of

depression​ than whites, but lower than blacks or Latinos. (​LaRae LaBouff​, 2016) In most Asian

cultures, the men are in charge, plus family is very important. There are many consequences that

Asians face if they decide to seek health care. They have shown more psychological problems

than physical. (West J med, 2002) Every culture is different, which means that not everyone is

going to have the same experience.

White women who also suffer from Bipolar depression, don’t always have the same

issues as minority women. Depending on one's values will determine how they react to their


Living in Poverty Vs. Living above Poverty:

Statistics shows that Minorities who suffer from any form of a mental illness, lives in

poverty. “​Anyone with a mental illness are overrepresented in high-poverty neighborhoods.” “

people with mental illness, and members of minority racial/ethnic populations in particular, are

disproportionately concentrated in high-poverty areas.” (​Am J Public Health​, 2003). Anyone

who is suffering from any mental illness and lives in poverty, are going to face some challenges.
The Impact of Bipolar Depression in Minority Women and its Impact on Society

A couple of reasons are, because healthcare is expensive and they may not have insurance. The

money that they may need isn’t present at that time. Numbers continue to grow for people who

live in poverty and are suffering from a mental illness.

Research shows that a lot of homeless people are suffering from mental illnesses but they

don’t have enough to seek treatment. Minorities make up most of the homeless population, but

the majority of homeless people are men. “​Homelessness emerged as a national issue in the

mid-20th century as one of the unintended consequences of closing state mental hospitals

without providing replacement treatment for people with the most serious mental illness.

Formerly hospitalized individuals without resources who were unable to live independently

moved to the streets, making up a growing portion of the homeless population. With the limited

supply of publicly supported psychiatric beds shrinking virtually every year since then and those

beds that remain increasingly dedicated to criminal offenders, access to treatment for severe

mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder is becoming ever more restricted.

This leaves increasing numbers of people who require intensive services to remain unstable and

experience negative consequences, homelessness among them”. (Hammack, L., & Adams, M.

2007 ) “In 2006, Markowitz published data on 81 US cities, looking at correlations between the

decreasing availability of psychiatric hospital beds and the increase in crime, arrest rates and

homelessness. He reported that, as state hospital bed capacity decreased, the number of mentally

ill homeless individuals increased, along with crime and arrest associated with homelessness.

This is consistent with studies in Massachusetts, Ohio and New York in the late 1980s finding

that, within six months, 27% to 38% of patients discharged from state mental hospitals were
The Impact of Bipolar Depression in Minority Women and its Impact on Society

homeless or had “no known address.” (Markowitz, F.E. 2006) This information is important,

because it’s showing that homeless people aren’t able to receive treatment, due to the number of

beds that are already taken. Plus if they aren’t treated, then they are likely to commit a crime, for

example, murder. Now in days if someone murders someone they are likely to say it’s because

they are suffering from a mental illness. For people who think it’s ok to use a mental illness, as

their escape route for hurting someone, are pathetic. This is because some people are really

fighting with their mental illness and don’t know whether or not if they are hurting others. They

need help, and it’s not fair to them, if someone is lying about why they hurt someone due to their

“mental illness”.

The people who live in the upper class have an advantage. This is because they have

access to more for example, they have insurance and more money. They don’t have to worry

about whether they are going to get treatment or not. This seems unfair, because everyone

deserves to get treated, and people shouldn’t have to pay hundreds of dollars.

Economic Impact:

When one has Bipolar Depression, a lot can be at stake, for example their careers or their

income. Some aren’t always in a state to work due to their depressive episode or manic episode.

“​ ​A ​bipolar disorder diagnosis​ can have a big effect on your job and career. In a survey of people

with ​depression​ and ​bipolar disorder​ conducted by the ​Depression​ and Bipolar Support Alliance,

88% said their condition affected their ability to work.” (​ WebMD LLC., 2005 - 2018) “It’s not

surprising that work can bring special challenges for those with ​bipolar disorder​. The stress and
The Impact of Bipolar Depression in Minority Women and its Impact on Society

unpredictable challenges in the workplace can take a big toll. Managing ​bipolar at work​ -- with

the highs of ​mania​ and the lows of ​depression​ -- is no small feat. In a survey conducted by the

Depression​ and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), almost nine out of every 10 people with

bipolar disorder said the illness had affected their job performance. More than half surveyed said

they thought they had to change jobs or careers more often than others. And many felt they were

either given less responsibility or passed up for promotions.” (WebMD LLC., 2005 - 2018) This

shows that Bipolar Depression can have a great impact one’s job. There’s a lady who works for

the Government and she suffers from Bipolar Depression. Some days she’s perfectly fine and

everything is going great. But then there are days where she doesn’t want to be bothered and

she’s anti-social. With Bipolar Depression, one never knows when they’ll be depressed or when

they’ll be in their manic phase. It doesn’t have a time or a date. People with Bipolar Depression

have to be consistent with their medicine and/or treatment, because it will not only be hard for

them in their personal lives, but it will be even harder for them in the workforce.

Family Dynamics:

When someone has Bipolar depression, it not only affects them, but it affects their

family. “ Living with a person who has bipolar disorder involves learning how to cope with the

difficulties that symptoms can create, supporting the person who is ill, and finding effective ways

to cope. Depending on the nature of an individual’s illness and how well the illness is managed,

the family can be affected in a variety of ways. When mood swings are mild, the family may

experience some distress but, over time and with education about mental illness, they can learn
The Impact of Bipolar Depression in Minority Women and its Impact on Society


to live with the demands of the illness. Caring for someone with more severe symptoms can be

very stressful for the family, especially if they are not given the opportunity to develop the skills

needed to cope with mental illness. It can be exhausting, especially for families with young

children.” (Mood Disorders Association of BC, 2017) “Bipolar disorder can impact families in

the following ways: Emotional distress such as guilt, grief, and worry, Disruption in regular

routines, Having to deal with unusual or dangerous behaviour, Financial stresses as a result of

reduced income or excessive spending, Strained marital or family relationships, Changes in

family roles, Difficulty in maintaining relationships outside the family, Health problems as a

result of stress” (Mood Disorders Association of BC, 2017) This shows that a person who

suffers from Bipolar depression isn’t going through it by themselves. Especially if it’s someone

who is the backbone of the family, then everyone is going to feel that shift.

There is a women who suffers from Bipolar depression and she is the heart of the family.

She was in and out of mental health care facilities, she would go through long depressive

episodes and short manic episodes, and she tried to stay with her son and his family for a while,

but it didn’t work out. However, any person could tell that her sons were stressed out. They

were taking care of their own families and trying to help their mother at the same time. The sons

were more than frustrated, because they felt like they couldn’t help her, but she had to be able to

want the treatment and/or help herself. This is a great example on how bipolar depression can

not only affect the person with it, but it affects their entire family. It’s hard on family members,

because they want to help their loved one, but their loved one has to be able to except what they

are going through, and want to be helped.

The Impact of Bipolar Depression in Minority Women and its Impact on Society


Short Term/ Long- Term Health Impact:

There are many long term and short term health effects, when it comes to diseases.

People are given a choice to take medicine or not. It’s suggested that people take medicine,

because that’s the only way that they’ll get better. The following medicines are prescribed for

Bipolar depression “mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, antidepressants, combination

antidepressant-antipsychotics, and antianxiety medications. Moreover, the most common

medicine prescribed for Bipolar Depression is Lithium.” (Healthline media 2005) With using

these medications, they’re guaranteed to get better. It’s not going to happen over night and it’s

going to take some time. Patients have to get into the “groove” of things. However, there will

be side effects with taking these medications excluding Lithium. The following side effects

include “tremors, muscle spasms, involuntary movements, dry mouth, sore throat, weight gain,

increased glucose and lipid levels in the blood, and sedation.” (Healthline media 2005) When

patients start taking Lithium they experience the following side effects; sedation or confusion,

loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, dizziness, eye pain or vision changes, fine hand tremors, a

frequent need to urinate, and excessive thirst.” (Healthline Media 2005) It’s more than

important for patients to know the side effects of their medications, because a side effect could
The Impact of Bipolar Depression in Minority Women and its Impact on Society


lead to hurting them really bad. Taking medication will help patients in the future. If a Patient

doesn’t take medicine they are more likely to have more severe depressive or manic episodes.

(Healthline Media 2005). Patients not taking medicine aren’t going to benefit from anything,

and they are going to get worse in the future.

“People with ​bipolar disorder​ are at great risk for ​suicide​ if they are not getting treatment.

The National ​Mental Health​ Association reports that 30%-70% of suicide victims have suffered

from a form of ​depression​.” (WebMD 2018) This is why it’s important for people with Bipolar

Depression to take medication. Some people believe that it can go away on its own, but it can’t.

It should be required that Bipolar Depression patients take medication.


To conclude, this paper discussed how Bipolar depression affects not only minority

women, but everyone who suffers from this mental illness. This paper went into detail about

how Bipolar depression impacts one’s daily life. From the challenges one faces based on race,

economic status, and workforce. It also discussed the long term and short term effects Bipolar

depression has on a person’s life. It also explains how someone can be affected by Bipolar

depression if a loved one is suffering from it. This paper is eye opening to someone who didn’t

know about the disease or didn’t understand the impact it has on one's life.
The Impact of Bipolar Depression in Minority Women and its Impact on Society


Lit Review:

In this article Doctor David Satcher talks about how African Americans are more likely

to get bipolar depression. A lot of African Americans are undiagnosed or don’t want to seek

treatment. He also discusses the possible reasons why people have bipolar depression. Plus he

goes into detail about what to look for when someone is in a manic stage or a depressions stage.

In this article, ​LaRae LaBouff​, discusses how bipolar depression doesn’t discriminate, but

treatment rates do. She goes in depth about the different minorities (Hispanic/Latino, Black, and

Asian) have a higher risk of not getting help, or having a higher risk of suicide. Each race is

completely different, however anyone can get this disease.

In this article that Mental Health America wrote, they discuss multiple topics. For

example, they talked about how what contributes to this disease, marriage/childbirth, and

women’s attitude toward depression. In the category of what contributes to this disease, they

include; work, family, genetics, hormones, sexual abuse, poverty, etc. When they get to the topic

of marriage/child birth, research says that “married women are less likely to get this disease,
The Impact of Bipolar Depression in Minority Women and its Impact on Society


however if you are married and unhappy, then you have a high risk of getting depression. They

surveyed women asking them if you think its normal or what gender knows more about

depression, etc.

Ronald C. Kessler​ , ​Catherine Barber​ , ​Howard G. Birnbaum​, ​Richard G. Frank​, ​Paul E.

Greenberg​ , ​Robert M. Rose​ , ​Gregory E. Simon​, and Philip Wang (1999) They all surveyed

several workers with depression. They found out that most people with depression are more

likely to take days off in a thirty day pay period.

In this article, Colleen Shaddox discusses how minority women who live in poverty don’t

want to go and seek help. This is because they are afraid that they will be judge, or that someone

will take away their kids. Plus most of these women who are living in poverty, don’t have the

money to seek proper treatment.


My name is Taquoia Kilby. I attend the Global Studies and World Language Academy at

Tallwood High in Virginia Beach. My senior project is “The impact of Bipolar depression in

Minority Women and its impact on society”. The things that have limited me while doing this

project, is that I’m a minority young women. My grandmother suffers from Bipolar Depression

as well, so I have seen the effects of this disease up close. I don’t want to seem biased.
The Impact of Bipolar Depression in Minority Women and its Impact on Society



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The Impact of Bipolar Depression in Minority Women and its Impact on Society


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The Impact of Bipolar Depression in Minority Women and its Impact on Society


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The Impact of Bipolar Depression in Minority Women and its Impact on Society


Shaddox, C. (2018, July 11). Poor And Minority Women Face Widening Barriers To

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