It's one thing to be moody when life brings you some highs and lows, but a person with Bipolar Disorder has such extreme mood swings that they really can't function anymore.
"Bipolar Disorder is a disorder that can disable a person and it's a disorder that can kill a person. I was very suicidal for a number of years. I thought about it every day," said Jane Mountain, a Bipolar Disorder patient.
Here's what's new and it could change the way doctors treat bipolar disorder altogether. A joint study of about 4,000 people at more than 20 universities and treatment centers nationwide has determined that anti-depressants may do nothing to help patients with Bipolar Disorder. The report in the New England Journal of Medicine is described as largest federally funded research program for Bipolar Disorder.
"The long term goal is to find out what does work in bipolar depression and our study suggests anti-depressants don't," said Dr. Michael Allen, of the University of Colorado, assistant Professor of Psychiatry.
Dr. Allen says this doesn't mean patients should throw out their anti-depressants. More study is needed, but this is a clue to better understanding that successful treatment of this condition will likely take much more than pills. Previous studies have shown that regular psychotherapy may bring the best ammunition for stabilizing mood swings.
More information is available in the April issue of the Journal Archives of General Psychiatry.