Almost everyone has had some mood swings. Some days the sun is shining, the air is fresh and we feel alive. Other times we might experience the blues- cloudy skies and not liking where we’re at or what we’re doing.

For some however the mood swings are much more intense. Those with bipolar disorder can feel so much joy that they have trouble controlling themselves. Their speech becomes pressured; their thoughts are disorganized and random and they can even become psychotic. Yet the next day or two might find them very down, suicidal and not wanting to do anything.

It is certainly not suprising that bipolar patients have the highest rate of suicide of almost any psychiatric illness. Imagine feeling like a million bucks but at the same time quite aware that in a short period of time you will be down in the dumps again.

Many such patients are brilliant-just look at Robin Williams for example. However, they often abuse drugs, perhaps in an effort to self medicate.

Many are able to control their disease with medications and therapy. They then go on to lead productive and happy lives. At the other extreme some are unable to hold a job down, have a family and are chronically homeless.

The key is to identify the illness as early as possible and seek medical help. If you or a loved one suffer from violent mood swings, see your doctor as soon as possible.