Medical Questions » Psychiatry Questions » Question No. 827
|Question:||My wife' s general practitioner and psychiatrist believe that she is manic depressive, but her sister has talked her out of taking any medications as she does not believe in doctors or medication. She now refuses to see her doctors and i am having great difficulty in coping with her wild mood swings and neglect of our children. I would appreciate your assistance.|
|Answer:||Manic depression, or a bipolar personality, can affect anyone in the community. It causes patients to have episodes of severe depression when they may feel suicidal, and at another time they may be excessively happy and do things they may later regret.
These swings in mood may occur every hour or two, or may be weeks apart. In a depressed mood the patient will be withdrawn, sleep poorly, loose interest in work and friends, and appear generally gloomy. When manic they may spend excessive amounts of money, take outrageous risks, become sexually promiscuous or party till dawn.
Women are far more likely to be affected than men.
Medication can be used to reduce the highs and lows so that the patient has normal mood swings, without stopping them from being the person that you know and love.
A bipolar personality is no different to any other chronic disease that requires long-term medication. In the same way that people with high blood pressure, diabetes or asthma must take medication on a regular basis to control their condition, so must people with a bipolar personality.
These people cannot pull themselves together without medical help, and unless they do take medication, in one of their extreme mood swings, they may harm themselves permanently.
Doctors cannot force patients to take medication, so it is a matter of convincing your wife (and her sister) that she may be better off receiving appropriate medication than taking risks with her life and damaging the lives of her family.