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photo Four Lives
A Portrait of Manic Depression
By Jonathan David

In this documentary, four patients and their families and psychiatrists share their perspectives on living with manic depression, an illness which affects nearly three million Americans. When depressed, these patients have exaggerated feelings of hopelessness, sadness and anxiety. When manic, they experience extreme feelings of ambition and self-confidence. If the high escalates they may become dangerously extravagant, incessantly talking and socially uninhibited.

If untreated, one in six may commit suicide. Though the illness can recur throughout a patient's life, effective treatments are now available, and the film explores both medical and psychotherapeutic approaches, as well as the more controversial electroconvulsive shock therapy (ECT). Those battling mental illness will take comfort in the struggles of these courageous people to achieve control over their disorder and their lives. Broadcast on national public television

56 minutes
© 1987
Purchase $195.00 DVD
Order No. QA-029
ISBN (DVD) 1-57295-953-3

"A beautiful, sensitive and rare film on the impact of manic depressive disorder in the lives of patients and their families. Speaks well to every audience: patient, public, and professional. An inspiration." Janice A. Egeland, PhD, Director, The Amish Study

Awards & Conference Screenings
Silver Apple, National Educational Film Festival
Cum Laude, Midikinale Parma
Columbus International Film Festival
National Council on Family Relations
American Psychological Association

Related Films
Changing Your Mind: Illustrates new research in nueroplasticity and how the changing brain plays an important role in treating mental diseases and disorders.

Not Just a Bad Day: Living under the shadow of one of the most commonly misunderstood and misdiagnosed mental illnesses - bipolar dIsorder.

Drawing From Life: A half-hour film that goes inside a group therapy workshop for people who have attempted suicide more than once.

Depression: Fighting the Dragon: This compelling documentary explores the growing prevalence of depression, and the research breakthroughs that could finally unlock its secrets.

Depression in Older Adults: Explores the prevalence of depression among the elderly, its causes, and approaches to treatment. The video features interviews with patients as well as commentary from professionals.

The Other Side of Blue: Eight to ten percent of teens may suffer from clinical depression, and many of these young people may attempt suicide. This provocative video focuses on its nature, causes, symptoms, and consequences, and on how the social stigma associated with depression blocks some teens from seeking help.

The Checker King: Fighting poor health and depression, 81-year-old Harold O'Brien journeys to the National Checker Championship after losing his wife, Norma. This warm and inspiring story is honest about the darker realities of aging and depression.

Different From You: As a result of the 'deinstitutionalization' of mental patients, people with mental illnesses now make up a majority of the homeless in many areas. This video explores the problem through the work of a compassionate physician who cares for mentally ill people living on the streets and in inadequate 'board and care' facilities in Los Angeles.


Awards & Screenings

Related Films

Web Resources

To rent or purchase this film, please visit the Icarus Films website