Fox News radio host Tom Sullivan recently dismissed bipolar mood disorder as "the latest fad" that is "made up by the mental health business."
Sullivan took a call on Wednesday from a 30-year-old woman who explained how she has been living with bipolar mood disorder for the past 13 years, noted MediaMatters.org (audio below).
The woman said that she was able to graduate from college and find a job. She described her mood disorder as a "disability" and "biological."
"I'm very skeptical," Sullivan replied. "And I've got to tell you, if you haven't been told, I will tell you. I think bipolar is like the latest fad. Everybody and their brother is getting diagnosed with bipolar. And last time I checked, we all have good days and we all have bad. And I don't consider that an illness and I don't consider it a disability."
The woman told Sullivan that bipolar disorders were the "extreme" of what he described.
"What were these people called 25 years ago, before they came up with this bipolar diagnosis?" Sullivan asked. "I mean I just think it's something made up by the mental health business just to be able to give people prescriptions and keep them coming in, and keeping you paying them money."
The woman reminded Sullivan that medical professionals have only recently been able to "map and chart the brain."
To promote this show, FoxNews.com blared the headline: "(AUDIO) Bipolar Woman Says She DESERVES Disability Benefits. Tom Tells Her She’s WRONG!"
FoxNews.com also used a stock photo of a woman sitting on a couch and linked to an article by the equally conservative website CNSNews.com, which claimed "1 in 3 on Disability Have Mental Disorder; 42.9% in D.C."
The CNSNews.com story said it got its numbers from the Annual Statistical Report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, 2013.
However, the number of people on disability insurance doesn't mean bipolar disorder isn't real. The American Psychological Association and the National Institute of Mental Health both call bipolar disorder "a serious mental illness."
The Mayo Clinic states on its website: "Don't let the fear of being labeled with a mental illness prevent you from seeking help ... Others' judgments almost always stem from a lack of understanding rather than information based on the facts."