Virginia Woolf, neuroprogression, and bipolar disorder
- Additional Document Info
- View All
Family history and traumatic experiences are factors linked to bipolar disorder. It is known that the lifetime risk of bipolar disorder in relatives of a bipolar proband are 5-10% for first degree relatives and 40-70% for monozygotic co-twins. It is also known that patients with early childhood trauma present earlier onset of bipolar disorder, increased number of manic episodes, and more suicide attempts. We have recently reported that childhood trauma partly mediates the effect of family history on bipolar disorder diagnosis. In light of these findings from the scientific literature, we reviewed the work of British writer Virginia Woolf, who allegedly suffered from bipolar disorder. Her disorder was strongly related to her family background. Moreover, Virginia Woolf was sexually molested by her half siblings for nine years. Her bipolar disorder symptoms presented a pernicious course, associated with hospitalizations, suicidal behavioral, and functional impairment. The concept of neuroprogression has been used to explain the clinical deterioration that takes places in a subgroup of bipolar disorder patients. The examination of Virgina Woolf's biography and art can provide clinicians with important insights about the course of bipolar disorder.
has subject area