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Cymraeg

“Not mad, manic”

21 May 2008

Depressed man

The School of Medicine’s pioneering work on causes and possible treatments of bipolar disorder has featured on BBC Wales’ respected ‘Week In Week Out’ documentary series.

More than thirty thousand people in Wales have manic depression or bi-polar disorder. The severe mental illness is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, but unlike people with depression, sufferers experience extreme highs and lows of mood.

On last night’s ‘Week in Week Out’, actor and writer Boyd Clack, best known for BBC Wales comedies ‘Satellite City’ and ‘High Hopes’, looked at what it’s really like to live with manic depression. In his younger days Boyd worked as a psychiatric nurse and for the past fifteen years he has suffered from depression. He admits to being fascinated by the experiences of people who suffer from mania.

Boyd met three Welsh people who are living with bipolar disorder, including Ines Beare, who until two years ago had never shown any signs of mental illness. But within days of giving birth to her first child she became high or ‘manic’ and started to behave strangely. Ines had developed a post-natal form of bipolar disorder. Just two weeks after giving birth to her daughter she was sectioned under the Mental Health Act at Cefn Coed psychiatric hospital in Swansea.

The programme followed Ines as she took part in the School of Medicine’s groundbreaking research into the causes and possible future treatments for bipolar disorder. It featured Professor Nick Craddock, who runs the mood disorder project, one of the largest in the world. He and his colleagues are trying to find out more about the brain chemicals which cause the illness.

Professor Craddock said: "We don’t know exactly which those chemicals are and we don’t know exactly the ways in which they change when people are ill. That’s why it’s so important to use the techniques that we have available in science so that we can diagnose the illness much better and develop much more effective treatments".

Professor Craddock is appealing for a further 4000 volunteers with manic depression to contact his team at Cardiff University take part in the study. For more information about the study and how to take part, email: moodresearch@cf.ac.uk , phone: 02920 744392, or see the website at http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/medic/subsites/bipolar

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