Bipolarized: Rethinking Mental Illness
Bipolarized: Rethinking Mental Illness
Bipolarized: Rethinking Mental Illness
Item#: BIP-1076
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Running Time: 76 minutes
A Film by Rita Kotzia
Featuring Ross McKenzie
Scene Selection • Closed Captioned
Grades - College to Adult



"We are in an era where every personality trait that slightly deviates from the norm is assigned a diagnosis and prescribed a pharmacologic ‘remedy’.  As a clinician alarmed by the trajectory of this trend I appreciated how Bipolarized tackled this head on through the lens of Ross's very raw personal story".
Dr. Justin Busse, Associate Chief of Staff and director of Emergency Devices, Georgetown Hospital, Halton, Ontario, Canada

“Ross has lived the nightmares that most people who are mislabeled with ‘bipolar’ and related ‘disorders’ have. And the nightmares of those mistreated with toxic drugs that don't work well. This is his compelling, informative and potentially lifesaving story.”
Charles L. Whitfield, MD, author, Not Crazy: You May Not Be Mentally Ill

“As a specialist in treating depression for 30 years, I can speak to the fact that we still have a great deal to learn about the causes and treatments of this very complicated set of symptoms we call bipolar or unipolar depression. Bipolarized is such an important film because it empowers people to question their mental health diagnosis and treatment when neither is relieving their suffering, or worse causing more suffering. This is one man’s personal story, beautifully told…. The effect is riveting. Ross offers a balanced perspective of bipolar disorder and its treatments from highly skilled clinicians representing a variety of perspectives.”
Cynthia W. Lubow, MS MFT

“Beautifully and painfully done. I have been a Trauma Therapist for 25 years. Your movie sheds light on what I truly believe is the consequence of un-processed trauma.”
Barbara Wolfe, MA LPC

“Thanks for telling your amazing story and for sharing your journey from the darkness of despair into the light of understanding. You show people a true picture of what is involved in bipolar disorder while exposing the misunderstood world of mental illness. Your film provides a ray of hope to a world that has been riddled with debilitating drug therapy and reveals a newly trodden pathway to healing.”
Dr. James Forleo, author, Health Is Simple, Disease is Complicated

"Recommended. The film opens a much-needed dialogue on whether overreliance on expensive medicines has become a too-convenient remedy for illnesses that can be treated through more holistic means."
Video Librarian

"Highly recommended. An inspirational film of courage and determination interspersed with layers of knowledge, compassion, and understanding from psychiatrists and mental health advocates who help Ross achieve a healthy life without the use of drugs. Highly recommended for psychology collections in university and public libraries."
–Educational Media Reviews Online





Winner, Special Jury Award
Health and Wellness,
Worldfest International Film Festival

Winner, Certificate for Creative Excellence,
U.S. International Film and Video Festival

Winner, Best Feature Documentary
Mad in America Film Festival

Official Selection, CineVision Festival
Official Selection, ReelAbilities: NY Disabilities Film Festival
Official Selection, Garden State Film Festival
Official Selection, Durango Independent Film Festival
Official Selection, International Free Thought Film Festival 2013
Official Selection, LA Femme Film Festival
Official Selection, Port Townsend Film Festival
All prices include DVD and PPR

• K-12 Schools, Public Libraries & Community Groups: $89
• Colleges, Government, Businesses: $250
• Colleges, Government, Businesses (with DSL): $550

Millions of Americans every year are diagnosed with a serious mental illness and prescribed drugs as the standard treatment. But are these diagnoses always correct? And are drugs the only or best way to treat their symptoms?

Diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Ross McKenzie’s psychiatrist told him he would have to take lithium to control his symptoms for the rest of his life. But the daily dose of the drug felt like a chemical lobotomy to Ross, leaving him in a foggy haze.

Ross believed there had to be a better way and even wondered if the diagnosis was correct.  He detoxed off lithium and sought to uncover the root causes of his mental breakdown and pursue alternative treatments.  

BIPOLARIZED follows Ross’ troubled personal journey, while telling a larger story about mental illness and conventional drug treatments. The film questions whether many people are incorrectly diagnosed, and challenges whether toxic psychotropic drugs are the only way to treat mental illness.

Weaving together Ross’ raw, heartfelt experiences with commentary from psychiatrists and mental health activists, the film recounts the alternative path Ross used to regain his mental, emotional and physical health.

Ross is now healthy, living a full life, without the debilitating side effects of psychotropic drugs. His experience is not unique, as the film reveals.  Many are now questioning the standard diagnosis and treatment of mental illness, and finding that by choosing to discover the varied root causes of mental health symptoms, it may be possible for many to create a vibrant life, free from mental health disease, without the use of drugs.

Experts featured in the film:

Robert Whittaker, journalist; winner, George Polk Award for Medical Writing

Dr. Charles Whitfield, Psychotherapist; Consultant to CDC.

Dr. David Goldbloom, Professor of Psychiatry, University of Toronto; Chair of the Board, Mental Health Commission of Canada

Gwen Olsen, Pharmaceutical representative for 15 years; author, Confessions of an RX Drug Pusher

Peter Levine, Ph.D., Author, Waking the Tiger, Healing Trauma; Director, The Somatic Experiencing Trauma institute