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David A. Axelson

Why Go Into Bipolar Research?

Posted on August 14, 2009

Intellectual variety and the ability to make a difference are the reasons David A. Axelson (bio) studies bipolar disorder.

I enjoy lots of different things, and bipolar disorder in kids has a whole realm of psychopathology because there's lots of we call comorbid disorders. So you're always thinking about anxiety, ADHD, behavioral problems, so in some ways, it allowed you to focus without focusing too much. So you still got to do lots of work as far as medication treatment and thinking about all of child psychiatry, yet still focusing on this sort of one primary area.

If you get something that works, if you're able to help a family that hadn't been helped before. They've tried many different things, and you're able to devise a course of treatment with them that actually really improves their child, yeah, they're very grateful. There's a lot of excitement and relief in some ways that we finally found something that worked.

And so, with some of the early cases that we were working on, the kids had been diagnosed other things. Treatment hadn't worked so well before, and so when you're able to occasionally make a difference like that, it was exciting.

And so that got me down the road of bipolar disorder in kids. But yet I also knew there were so little that we truly knew there was so little research in the area at the time. There wasn't much to guide your decision making.

And so that was another reason: I really wanted to be able to help provide some organization and some little bit of light in this area because I felt like I was bouncing around in the dark in some ways in trying to figure this out with the patients and families I was working with.


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