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Next to Normal (musical)

Fiction does a disservice to psychiatry

Fiction does a disservice to psychiatry

I just saw Center Stage's production of "Next to Normal," a play portraying a family grappling with the wife/mother's bipolar disorder. I am not a theater critic. I am however, a psychiatrist on the teaching staff of Sheppard Pratt, University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins, and I speak around the country about how movies and plays present mental illness, its treatments and its treaters. Though accurately portraying a family's anguish about mental illness, sadly, "Next to Normal" incorporates some of the common distorted tropes that so often appear in entertainment. For example, a common dramatic tool, as seen in this play, is two psychiatrists with...

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