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J Natl Med Assoc. 1981 February; 73(2): 101–107.
PMCID: PMC2552632

Misdiagnosis of Black Patients with Manic Depressive Illness: Second in a Series


In a previous article (J Natl Med Assoc 72(2): 141, 1980), the authors proposed that, despite several attempts to lay to rest the myth that blacks do not demonstrate similar prevalence rates of manic depressive illness when compared to whites, many black patients with manic depressive illness are frequently misdiagnosed. In a survey of the outpatient psychiatric clinic at Jackson Park Hospital, it was found that black patients in this clinic have similar prevalence rates of manic depressive illness when compared to surveys of white patient populations. In addition, it was found that the demographic characteristics of this subgroup of manic depressive patients were very similar to those found in white manic depressive patients. Yet, when the past histories of these black manic depressive patients were reviewed, there were large numbers of patients who received a diagnosis of schizophrenia and, thus, were not considered for treatment with lithium.

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