Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
Tags: Depression | depression | drug | free | medication | therapy

Can Depression Be Controlled Without Drugs?

By    |   Tuesday, 06 Aug 2013 05:34 PM

Question: My son (he’s 22) has bipolar disorder, but refuses to take medicine because he doesn't like the way it makes him feel. He sees a therapist every other week, and it seems to help, but I worry that without taking meds his mood swings aren’t being controlled. What do you think: Is therapy enough?

Dr. Hibberd's answer:
 
I agree with you. The very nature of bipolar disorder creates a disordered perception of reality, and its victims cannot always realize or control their behavior. Bipolar disorder is a condition where psychotic behavior is common, along with attention deficits and disorganized and abnormal judgment. These conditions can’t be treated with counseling alone, and the suicide risk is high in untreated cases.
 
Death and/or injury is just so preventable with medication use. Why would someone choose not treat this brain disorder, when he would surely not hesitate to treat a lung or heart disorder?
 
Therapy is not enough. Encourage him to consult a psychiatrist who can prescribe some medication that will not slow him down the way his prior medications may have. Anticonvulsant drugs, among others, can be effective in treating bipolar treatment, so modern medical management does not have to make him feel drowsy or experience negative side effects  the way the old management strategies used to.

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Therapy is not enough to manage some cases of depression.
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