This past January, I had the privilege of flying to Little Rock Arkansas and spending a day with Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine talking about my book Good Mood Bad Mood on their Family Life Today program. We had a lively discussion concerning the diagnosis of depression and bipolar disorder and questions concerning medical treatment and counseling care.
On May 28th through the 30th that conversation is going to be played out in three segments on the program Family Life Today.
I had no idea when I sat down in the recording studio with Bob and Dennis that one of the reasons that my book interested them was that Bob’s Dad had struggled with manic depression known today as bipolar disorder 1. In the opening minutes, Bob explained how his father had developed the symptoms of manic depression including unusual spending and grandiose business plans. His father eventually was admitted to a psychiatric hospital and benefitted from taking medicine for the rest of his life. As I listened, I could say that Bob’s father matched the description of bipolar disorder 1 that I wrote about in Good Mood Bad Mood.
In the balance of the first program we began a discussion of the changes that have occurred in the diagnosis of bipolar disorder and depression. In the second program we continued to discuss how the criteria for depression fail to make a distinction between normal sadness due to loss and the disordered sadness that comes for no cause that we used to call depression.
This change in the way the diagnosis is made has resulted in an explosion in the number of diagnoses of depression and bipolar disorder made each year. The change contributes to a failure for most of us to understand the importance of sadness and how it is an important part of the way God created us. A good discussion of how counseling from the Scriptures can help those who struggle with sadness followed.
In the third program we discussed the pros and cons of taking medicine for depression and other psychological disorders. I made the point that taking medicine for depression is a matter of Christian liberty and that is not a right or wrong issue. The more important question that we discussed was the current research that indicates that it may be more helpful to talk to someone who can help the struggler deal with the problems that they face.
I enjoyed the opportunity to meet Bob and Dennis. I was glad to have the chance to discuss bipolar disorder with a dear Christian who had lived it through his loved one’s struggle. The programs can be heard on radio stations that can be found on the Family Life Today website or as a podcast at www.familylife.com Wednesday through Friday May 28th through the 30th.