Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Toll of the Disease Itself

In Hawaii this week hikers at a scenic cliff found the decomposing body of Steven Thomas, 36, a computer whiz who made millions as co-founder of the software company Webroot.  Thomas disappeared two weeks ago after expressing suicidal thoughts. 

He had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder just months ago, after he ran naked into a race-walk event in front of his oceanfront home.  His wife said that he refused treatment for his condition and his paranoid actions continued.  After he disappeared, she made a desperate plea to the public for help.

"He thinks everyone on the island is out to get him," Candis Thomas said of her husband's bipolar condition. "He thinks the military is involved, he thinks that aliens are involved, and he's just been in a real delusion state of being fearful."

She predicted what would happen without treatment.

"He needs professional help," she said. "He's been in this state of suffering from severe illness. If he doesn't get the medical help he needs this could be a mess."

Lack of resources or the ability to pay for treatment did not impact this tragic story.  Providing family members, like Mrs. Thomas, with the tools and support to get a loved one treatment can make a difference.  The need for assisted treatment is a result of the disease itself and the horrible toll it takes on the human mind.