Sunday, October 01, 2006

Manic Depression

As someone with a close relative who suffers from the condition, I was interested to hear Radio 4's Case Notes present a program on manic depression recently. The program gave some insight into treatment regimes, lifestyles and therapies which might help in managing the highs and the lows. I began to appreciate how the cocktail of mood-stabilizers, anti-depressants, sleeping tablets and anti-psychotics might help, if the sufferer remembers, or chooses, to take them as prescribed. Sufferers shared their experiences and talked candidly of what the episodes of mania and depression felt like for them. Mood stabilizers do what they say, that is smooth out the highs and lows. A sufferer I know personally told me once that the medication just makes her more acceptable to society at large. It numbs her and life is difficult - she misses the manic episodes when she felt on top of the world. You can listen to the Radio 4 take on things again here.


Giskin said...

I too have a close relative diagnosed with the condition, although I think it is less clear-cut than some of the case studies featured on the programme. There was also Stephen Fry's excellent series on BBC2 recently which I hope will be repeated. The medication also made my relative very passive and, I think, this had an impact on his quality of life.

Ghost Writer said...

I've just managed to watch a recording of the second episode of Fry's program. It provided some interesting insights but, as you perhaps suggest above, the case studies were a little too neat. The condition was seen either in pretty successful people (like Fry himself) and reasonably well managed, or, we saw the very sad case of suicide. There didn't seem to be any middle ground, although I think the statistics quoted 20% of sufferers wouldn't lead a 'normal' life. What was to be applauded I think was the celebration of creativity which can result from mental illness.