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Susan Cody HERWriter Guide

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'Kony' Filmmaker May Have Experienced Brief Reactive Psychosis, Or Manic Episode

By Susan Cody HERWriter Guide
 
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The short film about Ugandan villain Joseph Kony has been seen tens of millions of times on YouTube, so far. One of the filmmakers behind it, Jason Russell, was recently seen running naked, shouting and gesticulating to himself or imagined persons around him.

Some are calling it a manic episode, brought on by the stress of such huge publicity and possible sleep loss.

CNN's Dr. Charles Raison raises the question of whether Russell was in some kind of bipolar manic episode when he was videotaped racing through San Diego streets, stark naked and wildly talking to himself and making physical gestures with his arms.

Dr. Raison, who has not treated or met Jason Russell, says that his symptoms are classic bipolar symptoms when the patient is in a manic episode. Shouting incoherently, nakedness and a complete unawareness of their surroundings seem to be key elements in a manic episode.

From EmpowHER's Bipolar Disorder page, symptoms of a manic episode include:

■ Increased energy, activity, and restlessness
■ Excessively high, overly good, euphoric mood
■ Extreme irritability
■ Racing thoughts and talking very fast, jumping from one idea to another
■ Distractibility, inability to concentrate
■ Little need for sleep
■ Unrealistic beliefs in one's abilities and powers
■ Poor judgment
■ Spending sprees
■ A lasting period of behavior that is different from usual
■ Increased sexual drive
■ Abuse of drugs , particularly cocaine , alcohol , and sleeping medications
■ Provocative, intrusive, or aggressive behavior
■ Denial that anything is wrong

These episodes generally last at least a week.

But his family have since come out and stated that Russell actually suffered from brief reactive psychosis. Rather than bipolar disorder, a chronic illness, brief reactive psychosis generally lasts less than a month and is triggered by a specific stressor -- a death, a great upheaval in a person's life or other traumatic event.

Once a person learns to cope with the stress factor, the reactive psychosis leaves, although it should be noted that these episodes are more often seen in people with personality disorders.

SOURCES:

CNN.com.

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