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Walcott: Only a psychiatrist can rule a person with bipolar disorder unfit for work

Published:Wednesday | August 21, 2019 | 12:19 AM

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness identified by extreme mood swings that include emotional highs and lows.

A lifelong condition, it is treated with medication and psychological counselling (psychotherapy).

Psychiatrist Dr Geoffrey Walcott said a person with bipolar disorder is quite capable of doing any type of job and the only person who can determine whether he or she is unfit for duty is a psychiatrist.

“If he is making an application, his psychiatrist would have to be the person for you to get a report from, to say based on his current state he would not be able to perform that duty, but you cannot make up an assessment just mainly on the person’s background. That’s like me saying, ‘I’m not going to hire any diabetic to lift anything heavy because they are going to faint.’ That is discriminatory,” said Walcott.

The psychiatrist said there is no limitation in terms of a bipolar person’s employment and they don’t recommend any jobs that they should stay away from, as the only thing that needs to be determined is whether the person is capable after a clinical evaluation.

“Their intellect is not associated with their mental disorder. The mental disorder is merely a consolidation of symptoms that occur on occasion, and once properly treated, that person is quite capable of living a healthy, normal life and going about their business,” said Walcott.