Depression Disease There is a disease out there that can be more harmful to families than AIDS, it can cause more pain and suffering to the individual afflicted with the disease than anything anybody could dream of, this disease is so rare, that less than one percent of the people in the nation( National..Ill, 2), the disease is Manic Depression, also known as Bipolar. Bipolar is a disease that is common, but yet very few people are aware of it and know its symptoms. I was one of those people who knew about Bipolar, but really done know its affect on a person and those people around him. Bipolar is a disease that has lot to be discovered. Although it has been around for a while, it is still relatively new.
In an age where AIDS and STDs rule the front page, a disease as Bipolar does not receive attention until it is too late. Manic Depression(bipolar) is a mental illness involving serious episodes of mania and depression(National..Ill 2). Even though two million people have the disease, doctors are still baffled by its cause. The most likely explanation is that it is caused by a single gene, but that has yet to be proven. Over twenty-three percent of adolescents who have bipolar, also have moms, who has this disease(National..Ill 3).
Another cause is that bipolar might be inherited. During mania and depression there are many chemical changes that accompany the mood (Sims2). The number one chemical in the brain that change is sodium. During both depression and mania the sodium levels will rise, while other brain chemicals will rise during mania and fall during depression(Sims 2). It is crucial that teens get diagnosed right away. In my case I was in the middle. The signs were there, we just did not see them at first, but we still took care of it in the early stages. If they do not get treated right away the problem will only continue to get worse and worse.
The problem is, many teens have high energy levels and it is tough to diagnose. Some signs of manic depression can range anywhere from a decreased need for sleep to an increased sexual drive(National..Ill 4). The thing that caused my parents to be superstitious was my wild mood swings. One minute I would be acting as if there was nothing wrong, the next minute, I would be feeling there is no sense in going on. Another thing bipolar might do is hide behind another problem. A kid might be doing poor in school, but in reality it could be the early stage of manic depression.
This was another sign that something was wrong with me. I had a 3.0 grade point average, but when my first quarter report card came out I had 1.5. Bipolar can show its face anywhere it is important to the family and friends of the person that they find help immediately. Manic Depression is not curable. There are many different ways to treat it and to deal with it. Bipolar is a disease, when treated properly will go into remission and has the possibility of never showing up again.
There are three ways that are effective. The first is mood stabilizers. These drugs help level your mood so, signs of mania and depression are lessened. The second way is talk therapy. Talk therapy is when a person with bipolar talks to a psychiatrist or a social worker about their thoughts and/or feelings(National..Ill 4).
This is often used concurrently with the mood stabilizers. The third way is Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), this is often used in the treatment of severe depression(National.Ill 4). Lithium is the most common mood stabilizer and it is the most used to treat patients with bipolar(National..Ill 4). Lithium is a chemical that stabilizes the chemicals in the brain and in turn soothes the persons’ thoughts. This drug although helps the person mania and depression, it also lessons their creativity(National..Ill 5). Lithium is taken in the form of pills.
The main thing doctors look for in a person taking lithium is their “level.(Sims 1).” A level is how much lithium there is per pint of blood. “A good lithium level, in a normal adolescent is between five tenths and eight tenths,” said Dr. Syed Ali of the Cleveland Clinic. “In order to maintain these levels we try to have the person take a dosage at breakfast and a dosage at dinner,” he said, “usually the dosage depends on how the bodys enzymes break down the lithium chemicals.” I currently take two pills in the morning and three at dinner. The reason you do not take lithium during lunch is that your bodys enzymes do not break down the lithium fast enough and you start suffering side effects, such as tremors, said Dr.
Ali. He(Dr. Ali) also says that it is critical for a person to maintain his or her level. “If they do not,” he said, ” they might notice the effects now, but later down the line they will.” It used to be that only Lithium was the only approved drug to treat bipolar, now studies have shown that a new drug, Depakote, is effective(National.Ill 4). This drug also acts as a depressive combatant.
Depressive combatants are drugs that take out the depressive episodes in manic depression(National..Ill 2). Although there is not a lot known about this drug, it has been proven to be very successful in lab studies (National..Ill 3). The next kind of treatment that works well with taking of the pills is talk therapy. Talk therapy is going to see a psychiatrist or a social worker and talking with them about their feelings or something that is bugging them. “Often times we are happy if the kid just comes in says hi,” says Ed Becker of the Cleveland Clinic Social Workers.
“Most times the kids are so scared and they just dont want to talk to you about anything and even if you do ask them a question, it is a one word response you get back,” Talk therapy is nothing new to most people. Many of times a person has gone to see a psychatrist to help a person out. Whether that person was seeing the doctor for marital problems or to conquer their fear of heights a psychatrist is somebody they could always talk to. However, a person with bipolar doesnt see a psychatrist or social worker as a friend, but as a person out to get them(Shriberg 13). “The first thing we tried to do is to make the person feel comfortable,” said Becker. “If the person is comfortable he or she will more likely talk,” he continued, “In Todds case it took us about four sessions before he would open up to me.” The reason it took me so long to open up along with most other bipolar suffers is that we do not feel we can trust the guy.
We feel everything we say will be told to our parents and the public(Sims 3). It took me awhile to trust Mr. Becker, but once I started talking and confiding in him, my medication seemed to really kick in and I have not looked back since. “Once Todd started opening up to Mr. Becker, we noticed a change in him,” says Mr. John Krepop. “He seemed to be smiling more and acting like his old self,” he remarked.
The least common method of treating is Electroconvulsive therapy(ECT). This is when they shock the brain to have it wake up. A course of treatment with ECT usually consists of six to twelve treatments given three times a week for a month or less. The patient is given general anesthesia and a muscle relaxant. When these have taken full effect, the patient’s brain is stimulated, using electrodes placed at precise locations on the patient’s head, with a brief controlled series of electrical pulses(National..Ill 6).
This stimulus causes a seizure within the brain which lasts for approximately a minute(National..Ill 6). Because of the muscle relaxants and anesthesia, the patient’s body does not convulse and the patient feels no pain. The patient awakens after five to ten minutes, much as he or she would from minor surgery( National..Ill 6). In the book the Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, Esther goes through the same kind of treatment to help snap her out of the funk that has been plaguing her. ECT is effective in over eighty percent of the people that use it. When we talk about Manic Depression, it usually only the person who suffers from it that gets the attention.
What most people fail to see is the stress, pain, and suffering family and friends have to go through. Each day they wake up and wonder what kind of mood that person will be in. At times these people feel like there is nothing they can do right for this person. These people sometimes dont realize how important they are to the recovery of a person suffering from bipolar. There is another way to help a person who suffers from bipolar and that is the support of his family and friends. Talk therapy might be the best prescribed medicine, but love is the greatest. “In almost one hundred percent of my cases, the people who have the support of their family and friends, get through life with the disease,” said Dr.
Ali. “The people who end up committing suicide are the ones who have no one to turn to, they feel alone and the longer they go on feeling like this, the closer they are to death. The twenty percent of people with bipolar who do committ suicide are the ones with no families and no friends. All they do is sit around all day and feel more depressed until they wake up and find no point in life anymore,” Dr. Ali said. Each time a person wakes up with bipolar is tough enough, it is crucial that they have the loving support of a family and friends.
So in this paper, I decide on getting a first hand account from the people who love me the most. I have asked my parents, Barb and John Krepop, along with my girlfriend Meghan Patton, various questions about how they feel about the disease and how they have handled it. Both my parents and Meghan agree that they always sit back and wonder if they are handling the situation properly and if they are helping it at all. Meghan said, “Sometimes I worry that I am not handling it ok and that I am not helping you. When we fight, I often worry that its my fault because you cant help it.” She continues, “Sometimes I think we shouild break up.
Then at other times I see how we both help each other out and I know that I would miss you.” “At times I wonder, its hard for me to let go, I want what is best for you and maybe I do put too much pressure on you, but its hard for me to step back,” said John Krepop. “Honestly, I was a bit shocked,” said Meghan when asked about her reaction when I told her I suffered from bipolar. “I really didnt know what it was, and I especially didnt know how to deal with it. For a short while I wondered if I should end our relationship, especially before we became to attached. I was afraid that because you had it we would never have a normal relationship.” My dads reaction was more of the same except he felt a little relief. “I felt relief because it explained a lot of what you were doing and acting.