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Winston Churchill, a Leader During the World War II Case Study

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Updated: Jun 29th, 2022

Like other health problems, behavioral health disorder can affect any people from poor to rich and famous citizens. Such health disorders have ruined the life of even some famous political leaders, musicians, politicians, scientists, artists, actors, actresses, authors, writers, novelists, businessmen, etc. This essay is regarding the serious behavioral health disorder suffered by the famous politician Sir Winston Churchill.

Winston Churchill, leader during World War II and former prime minister of Great Britain, was one of the greatest heroes of Britain in the 20th-century. He was dynamic, energetic, tireless, and required very little sleep during his periods of elevated vigor. He motivated a whole nation with his iron will, stubbornness, and braveness. During those times, he succeeded as a writer, soldier, politician, and prime minister.

Churchill suffered from Bipolar Mood Disorder or Manic-Depressive Disorder. Bipolar Mood Disorder is a mental disorder characterized by moods that swing between two contradictory poles. This disorder entered Churchill during his youth days and remained throughout his long and notable life. This untreated Bipolar Mood Disorder made him experience serious and prolonged depressions, and the disorder became worse in his later years. Churchill suffered periodic mood swings and not depression alone.

Though chemical imbalances in the brain serves as a prime component of Bipolar Mood Disorder or Manic-Depressive Disorder, other factors such as genetic factors, environmental factors and distressing external events may also contribute to Bipolar Mood Disorder. Churchill’s extensive participation in the World War and his dismissal from the Admiralty after the Dardanelles disaster in the First World War may be the cause for his mental disorder. No other such outside causes can be related to his disorder.

The major symptoms of Bipolar Mood Disorder includes fatigue, abnormal energy, sad mood, sleeping problems, appetite changes, lack of concentration, inactive behaviour, loss of interest in life, suicidal thoughts, lavishness, distractibility, thoughtlessness, and feelings of pessimism, guiltiness, helplessness, or high/low self-esteem. Other symptoms include change of ideas and activities related to social behaviour, sexual activity, learning and work. Churchill faced most of the several symptoms related to his disorder.

Churchill’s violent, ironic and dominant behaviour, argumentative nature in his personal relationships, and elated interests about war are some evidences for his disorder. He suffered from lack of shyness and lack of self-consciousness which are clear symptoms for his disorder. This is quite clear as he often used to walk around his house and upset his staffs by meeting them without any dress. His abnormal energy levels, inexhaustible writing attitude, and melodramatic actions and speeches are also some evidences. He often faced money troubles due to his lavishness, gambling attitude, and improper finance planning. Churchill’s close friend Lord Beaverbrook said, “Churchill was always either at the top of the wheel of confidence or at the bottom of an intense depression.” This obviously describes the Manic Depression Disorder suffered by Churchill.

There is no ideal medical test for Bipolar Mood disorder. Generally a complete medical history, psychiatric history and physical examination will have to be conducted to confirm the absence of other psychiatric conditions and physical conditions. Family medical and psychiatric history also has to be analysed to confirm if there is a family history of depression or Bipolar Mood Disorder. A patient may be diagnosed to have Bipolar Mood Disorder if his/her current symptoms correlate with that of Bipolar Mood Disorder, if the above test results rule out other psychiatric conditions and physical conditions.

Dynamic Model of Relapse demonstrates the high-risk situation related to both distal and proximal risk factors operating within both tonic and phasic processes. Tonic processes lead to the commencement of a high-risk situation and provides the foundation for the risk of a lapse. The phasic response includes situational reaction, emotional and physical states, and coping skills utilisation. The primary basis of the dynamic model of relapse is to identify the high-risk situation which may be any experience or incident, emotion or thought that increases the risk for a person to engage in some abnormal behaviour.

Churchill was well aware that his mood swings and depression was a medical condition. Churchill’s mood swings tend to be severe and prolonged. He faced this disorder before the development of effective medication, and hence had to live with untreated Bipolar Mood Disorder throughout his life.

But now-a-days, Bipolar Mood Disorder can be effectively managed or treated with medications, supportive psychotherapy, and sometimes electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Medications include mood stabilisers, antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs. Psychotherapy and counseling are must along with medication. ECT is used in case of severe Bipolar Mood Disorder. Only medications and regular visits to a psychiatrist will help in keeping this disorder in control.

Family support is also very important for Bipolar Mood Disorder patients. Many online support programs are there to help Bipolar Mood Disorder patients and their family. Forums and meetings are also being conducted in some countries to give enough information related to living with Bipolar Mood Disorder. The conclusion is that people with Bipolar Mood Disorder can also enjoy a full happy life with correct management of their condition with medications and support.

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