Thursday, December 1, 2022

Comments by rsrcrw

Showing 2 of 2 comments.

  • There have been some wonderful points on this blog and in the comments- points about trauma and the impact of a society oriented around money and material possessions, among other issues. My concern in reading all of this are for the many people who have bipolar disorder and need medication to get back to themselves and who would be very discouraged from seeking treatment because of all the comments that make it appear that medication is essentially poison and that bipolar disorder is really not a medical condition. The truth is that sometimes medication is the only thing that helps. I know because I have been there with my own family. I tried many nontraditional forms of treatment for my daughter who suffers from bipolar disorder-none of which worked one tiny iota. My daughter has not suffered from trauma or abuse. She is a wonderful person who is unfortunately genetically loaded. After all the non traditional treatment approaches failed to work, it was my job as a loving parent to begin the quest for the right medication combination to work for her. We found it and now she has herself and her life back. I would like to see more research focus that looks at the biological underpinnings of bipolar disorder, such as genetics, the mechanisms by which the brain is affected , and ultimately what medications truly work. At present the state of the research is such that it can take months or years or never- to find the right medication. It took our family almost a year of what was basically a nightmare for my daughter and for our family. Before this she was alternately severely depressed with suicidal ideation and cutting, and manic with hallucinations, delusions, enormous amounts of energy and no judgment call whatsoever. I can’t tell you how grateful we are to her NP who finally prescribed the right medication combination and has gotten her life back. I am convinced that without medication she would have suffered terribly, possibly even dead by now. Medication is not the enemy for someone who truly has bipolar disorder. Indeed, it is the only savior.

  • I appreciate the discussion of different concerns about medication for mental health disorders. It is true that medication has not yet proven to be the perfect form of treatment, largely because medical science does not fully understand the mechanisms of mood disorders. Yet I would like to offer my own evidence for the life-saving and critical importance of a correct diagnosis and effective treatment. I am the wife of a husband suffering for many years from depression, and a teenage daughter newly suffering from bipolar disorder. Both of my family members would be dead today without medication. They have both experienced psychosis and suicidality, and those symptoms occurred in the absence of effective medication. For my daughter, who experienced manic episodes prior to her diagnosis, she suffered from recurring cycles of depression even when the manias were stabilized with lithium. The doctor in the teaching hospital put her on an anti-depressant which induced a psychotic mania. It took multiple ER visits and two more inpatient stays before she finally found the right medication combination that stabilized both the manias and the depressions: lithium plus welbutrin. I thank her day treatment doctor with that drug combination because it not only saved her life, but has brought her back from the madness that she experienced without adequate treatment. I would like to add here that before I contacted a psychiatrist for diagnosis and treatment, I tried multiple alternative treatment routes that failed, including biofeedback, psycho-therapy, and nutrition (i.e. fish oil). None of the alternative therapies worked, and it was only with correct diagnosis and medication that my daughter is stable and doing well. My husband has had a different course of treatment: he has suffered from depression for decades, and for most of those years he was able to function very well both in school and at work. Sadly, he now is experiencing a partial treatment resistance, which means that even with various treatment and medication combinations, he has only stabilized to a certain extent. However, I am 100% certain that without the medication at all he plunges into a psychotic, suicidal depression, and I remain grateful that the medication helps to keep him from those depths of despair, even if he is not fully back to himself. I can speak with absolute certainly because I saw what happened on multiple occasions when he was not on effective treatment. I will never forget the day he told me that I would never forget his date of death because it was going to be on pi day, i.e. 3/14 (he was a math teacher for many years and used to hold “pi day” programs for the students at his school). That is only one of many stories I could tell about the critical importance of correct diagnosis and treatment. There is no doubt in my mind that mental health disorders are medical conditions like diabetes or cancer. The reason for the diagnosis is not to stigmatize but to ensure effective treatment. Medical science is turning up new data every day about the mechanisms in the brain that cause depression and bipolar disorder, although so much more research still needs to be done. I hope that we can have ongoing dialogue that will help those who suffer from these difficult disorders so that they do not end up in tragedy.