Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Traumatic Treatment Options

In the Spring of 2013, I took an abnormal psychology course at the local community college. While we were learning about mood disorders the professor focused on depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. He taught us about the different symptoms, causes and treatment of each disorder. Many treatments for these mood disorders overlap. I found the disorders to be fascinating but I will have to admit that I pretty much glossed over the treatment portion. Little did I know that the information would be important to me in the future.

After completing the course, I was formally diagnosed with bipolar disorder.I have an excellent psychiatrist. We have a good doctor/patient relationship. He is thoughtful when it comes to prescribing medication. He thoroughly explains how each of my medications work and we discuss the positive and negative side effects. At times I find it amusing because sometimes I already know what he is going to say before he even says it.

I won't bore you with the specific details. Medications include tricyclics, MAOI's (monoamine oxidase inhibitors), SSRI's (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), antipsychotics, major tranquilizers, and neuroleptics. Possible side effects are a compromised immune system, GI (gastrointestinal) problems, Parkinson-like symptoms, sedation, sexual dysfunction, stroke, type II diabetes, and weight gain of 5-40 pounds. When therapy and medication does not work, doctors resort to another form of treatment: electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

I have never given much thought to the aspects that I have learned about the treatment of mood disorders. One day I came to a realization. I still shudder whenever I think about it. The forms of treatment that I learned in the abnormal psychology class are no longer just academic facts to me...

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