I agree with you that medicine is often the best approach, but for many people, they are too afraid or have had too many bad experiences to take it. I've got to disagree with you about books and counselors, though. For one thing, the medicine can only do so much. I do believe it's crucial to try and find a medical approach which works for you. But there isn't one pill out there that is going to "fix" you. The pills make the symptoms better and the rest is up to you. We ARE still responsible for the choices that we make in our lives, despite having a brain chemical imbalance. If we don't take responsibility for our health and just say "Well, I have a mental illness, I don't have to be strong or read books or see a counselor," then we have given our whole lives over to the disease, and just given up. That is unacceptable, and that is how we hear of manic people going completely off the deep end destroying their families, making terrible financial decisions, getting into trouble with the law, and hurting people. Maintaining balance while bipolar requires constant effort and a multi-layered approach. Medicine is a first line of defense, but as you'll see as you read the boards, medicines stop working, doses need to be adjusted, new medicines need to be tried, there are side-effects -- medicine is not fail-proof. So to keep yourself sane, you have to work on managing your moods yourself. Learn some new techniques for doing that. Learn about your triggers. Learn about what starts up a manic cycle, or a depressive cycle. Learn how to avoid them. Learn about your emotional life by seeing a counselor. Learn about how stress plays a part in bipolar. That is where the books and the counselors come in.
I know you weren't implying that we go cold turkey -- that you were actually saying she should get help. I just wanted to say that I think we need ALL these things to stay healthy.
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum