The Uses of Diagnosis

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In this paper I take advantage of an invitation to comment on an article in Family Process to say some of the same things about manic-depressive or bipolar illness, as I did about schizophrenia. It is a plea to look at the family and the society’s response to the effect of the illness on the young person’s view of expectations in life, as well as the family’s response to those expectations. As with the “psychoeducational” approach to schizophrenia, the diagnosis helps the family to get organized, regardless of whether the diagnosis is rejected by the patient.