Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of jnmaLink to Publisher's site
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.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (919K), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • PRANGE AJ, Jr, VITOLS MM. Cultural aspects of the relatively low incidence of depression in southern Negroes. Int J Soc Psychiatry. 1962;8:104–112. [PubMed]
  • Johnson G, Gershon S, Hekimian LJ. Controlled evaluation of lithium and chlorpromazine in the treatment of manic states: an interim report. Compr Psychiatry. 1968 Nov;9(6):563–573. [PubMed]
  • Simon RJ, Fleiss JL, Gurland BJ, Stiller PR, Sharpe L. Depression and schizophrenia in hospitalized black and white mental patients. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1973 Apr;28(4):509–512. [PubMed]
  • Helzer JE. Bipolar affective disorder in black and white men. A comparison of symptoms and familial illness. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1975 Sep;32(9):1140–1143. [PubMed]
  • Bell CC. The role of psychiatric emergency services in aiding community alternatives to hospitalization in an inner-city population. J Natl Med Assoc. 1978 Dec;70(12):931–935. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Taylor MA, Abrams R. The phenomenology of mania. A new look at some old patients. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1973 Oct;29(4):520–522. [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of the National Medical Association are provided here courtesy of National Medical Association