bipolar disorder, Dr. Paul Markovitz  Q. I was diagnosed with a bipolar disorder a few months ago.. what types of drugs are effective treating this disorder? What about therapy like seeing a psycho therapist. Im seeing one and on Paxil and alprazolam for anxiety. Is there a cure for this disorder? Will a person diagnosed have to be on medication for the rest of there life? how can family help if they don't understand?/ Hubby ready to pack his bags. IS this a genetic disorder past down in families? I have two kids a son and a daughter will they end up with this disorder? How can one live a normal life and keep a job with this disorder? I want all the info I can get. I feel out of control and go on shopping sprees ran up a 300 dollar phone bill. my husband is a poor man because of me. its taking over my life, to where I lost my job.

  A. I do not want to overstep my boundaries, but will answer a few of your questions, and suggest you pose the rest to your psychiatrist. There are many kinds and variants of bipolar disorder, so I cannot tell what kind you have. You can view it like asthma--some folks have occasional attacks, and some constantly, and most are somewhere in between. Go over your particulars with your doctor.

The disease is genetic, but not everyone gets it in a family. Keep an eye on your kids, and let your psychiatrist know about your concerns. Statistically, they are more likely to be depressed than ever have a manic episode.

As far as medications, the "right ones" depends on what form of bipolar disease you have. Antidepressants (except tricyclics), lithium, anticonvulsants, neuroleptics, and tranquilizers can all be appropriate depending on your symptoms. Again, go over this with your doctor. Most bipolars do well once on the right medications.