Distributor:  The Fanlight Collection
Length:  56 minutes
Date:  1987
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English
Grade level: College/Adult/Professional
Color/BW:  Color
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Four Lives

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Four people with bipolar disorder, along with their families and psychiatrists, share their struggles to achieve control over the illness and their lives.

Four Lives

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

'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


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


Main credits

David, Jonathan (film director)
David, Jonathan (film producer)
David, Jonathan (cinematographer)
Duke, Patty (host)

Other credits

Editor, Geof Bartz; original music, Michael Baco; camera, Jonathan David.

Distributor credits

Jonathan David

Jonathan David

Docuseek2 subjects

Mental Disorder
Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis and Therapy

Distributor subjects

Brain Disorders
Depression and Manic Depression
Fanlight Collection
Mental Illness
Social Work


documentary; film; video; psychology; psychological; psychiatry; psychiatric; mental health; mental illness; brain disorder; mind; behavior; therapy ; disorders ; depression; manic depression; bipolar disorder; ECT; electroconvulsive therapy; shock therapy; "Four Lives"; The Fanlight Collection

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