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March 1, 2005

Preventing Bipolar Disorder

Today's Boston Globe has an excellent article on the under utilized approach of "prevention" for mental illness. Following is a brief excerpt from a long article - the full story is linked below.

Doctors see need for prevention in mental illness

Cancer treatment is more effective when the disease is caught early. Ditto for heart disease that's treated before a stroke or heart attack. But, in mental health, most patients suffer for months or years before doctors intervene.

A growing number of psychologists and psychiatrists -- frustrated with what they see as an ''epidemic" of mental illness -- say that attitude needs to change. Doctors need to know how to find mental illness in at-risk children and young adults before the symptoms become full-blown.

''In the whole history of medicine, it's never been possible to overcome an epidemic simply by treatment. You need to have prevention," said Gregory Clarke, a psychologist at Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research in Oregon.

Source: Boston Globe

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