Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Removing Stigma?

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on November 13, 2012,,20647311,00.html


Catherine Zeta-Jones says she is removing the stigma of bipolar II disorder. She is also promoting her new movie “Broken City” out in January. Sure, as a psychiatrist I am thrilled to see celebrities being open about their psychiatric issues, but there is a fine line between promoting and inhibiting stigma. I want to know the basis for the diagnosis and how she was treated. I want her to talk about her process from pain to healing. Throwing around a diagnosis and promoting herself as someone who is helping others out is too vague for me. The details are important. I repeat. The line between public service and self-promotion is awfully thin.



2 Responses to “Removing Stigma?”

  1. Shelly said

    I can see what you are saying. In the article, though, she says that she “hopes to remove the stigma of bipolar illness.” I think she thinks that if people see that a famous personality has bipolar disorder and goes public with it, then people can identify with her and stop hiding their illnesses. I don’t think that she is going to actively campaign to remove the stigma in any way. I agree with you, though. Public service and self-promotion in this case is the same thing.

    • Thanks, Shelly. Catherine Zeta-Jones, by her account was diagnosed with bipolar II which is distinctly different than bipolar I. Although I am excited about people being honest with their psychological struggles, her vagueness is too hard to really create a useful resource for those who are suffering. On the other hand, maybe each baby step is very meaningful. Thanks.

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