A fam­ily his­tory

Good Health (Australia) - - Good Health -

“I have my ups and downs like ev­ery­one else but I’ve no­ticed more low moods af­ter re­cently hav­ing my first baby by emer­gency cae­sarean. My sis­ter has bipo­lar dis­or­der and has to take med­i­ca­tion for that. I think far too many peo­ple are on an­tide­pres­sants th­ese days. I’m a strong woman and be­lieve in sort­ing out my own prob­lems. I don’t dis­cuss my low moods with my GP be­cause he’d prob­a­bly just write me a pre­scrip­tion. I never drink but I some­times smoke mar­i­juana.” – Claire, 39

WHAT THE EX­PERT SAYS

Claire has sev­eral risk fac­tors for bipo­lar dis­or­der. Given her sis­ter’s di­ag­no­sis and there­fore her own ge­netic pre­dis­po­si­tion, Claire’s choice to smoke mar­i­juana is es­pe­cially risky as it is a known risk fac­tor for bipo­lar dis­or­der. Many forms of stress, in­clud­ing child­birth or post­na­tal de­pres­sion, can trig­ger episodes of bipo­lar dis­or­der. Claire’s no­tion that ask­ing a pro­fes­sional for help de­creases your per­sonal power is also a con­cern.

WHAT CAN HELP?

I would ad­vise Claire to avoid mar­i­juana. She shouldn’t let her con­cerns about tak­ing med­i­ca­tion stop her from talk­ing to her GP. She can make her po­si­tion clear and ask about other op­tions. Those who seek help from ap­pro­pri­ate sources tend to do bet­ter in life, no mat­ter what the prob­lem.

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