A family history
“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.