In this medical video learn how many bipolar patients will encounter suicidal thoughts at some point during their illness. A new drug may save those lives.
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Jennifer Matthews: Roxann and Robert Chokan enjoy the simple act of picking raspberries in their j garden. Since they married more than 30 years ago, life has been anything but simple. Robert has bipolar disorder, a serious mood condition that causes periods of depression and mania. Roxann Chokan: It was really scary, because Bob's frustrations came out in events of anger. Jennifer Matthews: He even tried to kill himself ... three times. Robert Chokan: My life was not worth living, I couldn't see any end to it. Jennifer Matthews: Dr. Joseph Calabrese says patients with bipolar disorder are 10-times more likely to attempt suicide. Those attempts often occur in the depressed phase, but there's one problem. Dr. Joseph Calabrese: We have very few treatments. There's a desperate need for new treatments for bipolar depression. Jennifer Matthews: Now, researchers may have found one -- an antipsychotic drug called Seroquel. In a study, it was nearly twice as effective at reducing suicidal thoughts as placebo. Dr. Joseph Calabrese: That's remarkable because the medications that we have currently, to his knowledge, have never been shown to have an acute effect on suicide. Jennifer Matthews: Robert didn't receive Seroquel, but he hopes to once more studies prove it works. Right now, his faith and his wife get him through the tough times. Robert Chokan: It's something that, you know, I have to resign myself to having the rest of my life. Jennifer Matthews: But he says that gets a little easier each day. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.