Ellen Waters Case

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Ellen Waters meets the criteria for bipolar II disorder, with the most recent episode being depressed. Ellen reported that in the past she experienced episodes of elevated mood, functioned on little sleep, ran up telephone bills, and had racing thoughts. These episodes lasted for several months at a time and were distinctly different from her usual behavior. Her change in functioning was considered uncharacteristic of how she would normally function. Ellen reported that she was able to get a lot done during these periods, but that the change in her alarmed others. Ellen’s change in mood and activity were noticeable by her friends who felt she needed to calm down. These findings lead me to believe that the episodes Ellen reported on are hypomanic episodes (American Psychiatric…show more content…
First, I would assess for a history of mental illness, namely bipolar disorder, in Ellen’s family history. According to Beidel, Frueh, & Hersen (2014), “The risk of BD among children of bipolar parents is 4 times greater than the risk among children of healthy parents” (p. 232). Ellen reported that her parents were emotionally abusive toward her. I would want to assess for the impact this has had on Ellen’s life, especially on her depression symptoms. It is also important that I assess for any negative life events Ellen experienced. Ellen denied sexual or physical abuse in her past, however I would want to get a clearer picture of the emotional abuse she experienced from her parents, as well as any other prominent details that could be noteworthy in her case. Beidel, Frueh, & Hersen (2014) report that “stressful life events are correlated with slow recovery from depression” (p. 223). Considering how frequently Ellen has felt depressed over her life, assessment of her current and past stressors are crucial to assist in her bipolar II
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