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Despite Feeling Better, It's Important to Keep Taking Medication When Faced With Mental Illness

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Yesterday I wrote about a controversial new diagnosis for teenagers afflicted with mood swings. In that blog I wrote about the rising number of teenagers diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, and how the DSM-5 has issued a new diagnosis in its place to stem the number of young people taking anti-psychotic medications. Some psychiatric experts say that anti-psychotic drugs used to treat Bipolar Disorder can be hard on teens, and lead to a number of health problems. However, I thought it also extremely important to note the significance of continuing to take medications if faced with a diagnosis of serious mental illness such as Bipolar Disorder.

One example I gave in my blog yesterday was the movie Silver Linings Playbook. In that movie, the main character is diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and refuses to take his medication. His older parents are plagued with his delusional outbursts at all hours of the night, and his refusal to see that his marriage with his estranged wife is over. A recent NYT blog highlights the real "silver lining" in the movie plot: the main character's decision to start taking his medication and his life's sudden turn-around. In the process of uncovering the truth behind the plot of the movie, NYT blogger Tana Wojczuk details her own history with Bipolar Disorder and the difficult decision to take her medication.

Wojczuk tells the story of a life plagued by tumultuous relationships and frequent periods of mania that prevented her from enjoying life and the relationships she was attempting to build. Finally, after meeting Xander, a man whom she later married, Wojczuk decides that medication might not be such a bad idea afterall. It has been several years since she started taking Lithium, but Wojczuk says that her life is better. It was difficult for her at first, since the medication made her aware of others' feelings for the first time, among other new sensations. She still struggles with thoughts of abruptly stopping her medication regimen, but her story exemplifies the importance of continuing to take medication when faced with a serious mental illness–even after feeling better for some time.