Élie Hantouche

Recognising and Treating Bipolar and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders Publication date : January 12, 2006

Depression, manias, mood swings: these illnesses are common and generally respond well to treatment. But, in some cases, antidepressants fail to work and can lead to angry, aggressive or suicidal behaviour and delirium. In such cases, the patient may be suffering from another form of mental illness: in all likelihood an obsessive-compulsive disorder. Such disorders often go unnoticed, despite the presence of persistent obsessions and repetitive behaviour patterns. But once these disorders are diagnosed, various types of treatment are available.
What can be done to ensure a speedy diagnosis so that patients need not waste as many as ten years (as is often the case today) unnecessarily? Drawing on numerous examples, the author describes in detail the specific symptoms of several diseases, highlighting the signs that can help establish an early diagnosis. He explains how early diagnosis followed by psychological treatment and the prescription of adequate medication can radically improve patients’ health.
Besides studying obsessive-compulsive disorders, the author reflects on the correct usage of psychotropic drugs and antidepressants.

Elie Hantouche is a psychiatrist, working at the Hôpital de La Pitié-Salpêtrière-Paris-VI. He has specialised in bipolar disorders and obsessive-compulsive behaviour for twenty years.