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J Natl Med Assoc. 1980 February; 72(2): 141–145.
PMCID: PMC2552475

The Misdiagnosis of Black Patients with Manic Depressive Illness


It has been shown repeatedly that, contrary to earlier beliefs, blacks may well demonstrate similar prevalence rates for manic depressive illness when compared with whites. Yet the authors believe that black manic depressive patients are frequently misdiagnosed as being chronic undifferentiated schizophrenics and treated with major tranquilizers when lithium is the drug of choice. This contention is supported by three case histories and some institutional dynamics that cause this form of iatrogenic morbidity to continue to prey upon black psychiatric patients.

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