Medical Questions » Psychiatry Questions » Question No. 826
Question:My wife is in her thirties and suffers from extreme swings of mood which last for about a week. One day she can be extremely happy, then the next she is throwing pots at me and screaming. I try talking to her about it, but this only makes things worse. She seems unable to control these mood swings. Please help!
Answer:You are describing a quite classic case of manic-depressive psychosis. Normally we all have our good days and our bad days. Days when the world seems to be with us, and days when the opposite appears to be true. Everyone accepts these minor mood swings and copes with them, but in some people these changes are dramatically exaggerated into the scenario that you have described. These swings are caused by alterations in the balance between the different chemicals in your brain that control mood. The problem is not a psychological one, but a biochemical imbalance, in the same way that diabetes is an imbalance of sugar, manic-depressive psychosis is an imbalance of these mood chemicals, and is beyond the control of the individual. There are successful forms of treatment available. The first step is to discuss the problem with your general practitioner, who can often prescribe medication that will assist your wife, but as with diabetes, there is no cure, only control, so the medication must be taken long term. Spontaneous recovery can sometimes occur. If the condition is difficult to control, your general practitioner will refer your wife to a specialist psychiatrist who has the knowledge and training to better analyse and treat the problem.
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