Bipolar Disorder Community
Do I have Bipolar?
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Bipolar Disorder is also known as "Manic Depressive Disorder". This forum is for questions and support for people with, or for loved ones of people with Bipolar Disorder. The forum covers topics ranging from Aggressive Behavior, Affect on friends and Family, Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Appetite Changes, Chronic Pain, Denial, Depression, Difficulty Concentrating, Euphoria, Guilt, Manic Depression, Medications, Mood Swings, Poor Judgment, and Sleep Disorders

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Do I have Bipolar?

I think I may have bipolar disorder but I'm not sure on the duration of my mood shifts. I'll have phases in which i'm extremely happy, outgoing, and hyper. these phases will last, say, 3-4 days. Rough estimate. Then I'll have periods of hopelessness and depression which occur around 3 times a month and last a few days. During this time I am severely depressed and contemplate suicide very frequently in this phase. I was previously being treated for ADD and depression, but I quit those because the treatment was ineffective. To me it seems to make sense because during manic phases I would have difficulty concentrating and the depressive phases I would feel terrible. I think I was misdiagnosed. However, from what I've read my mood changes are much shorter than is normal.
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585414_tn?1288944902
Actually mood swings can vary not only in intensity but duration. There are also several specific classifications of bipolar depending on how long the mood swings last (for example many people, myself included have rapid cycling where a person's moods change over short intervals), how intense they are, whether a person has disturbances in the thought process during them and whether mania or depression is the predominant feature but only a psychiatrist could provide a specific diagnosis. It would be worth seeing a psychiatrist again and explaining to them what you have noticed and as well keep a mood tracker here and print out the results for them so they can understand how your moods vary in general. This has a list of useful websites that you could read to inform yourself and then discuss with the psychiatrist when you see them:
http://www.medhelp.org/health_pages/Mental-Health/Useful-Bipolar--Depression-Webisites/show/523?cid=105
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Avatar_m_tn
thanks so much. that helps a lot. I had heard about the rapid cycling but I was not sure how common it was. Thanks for your help.
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790071_tn?1291905027
Have you heard of ultra-rapid cycling. That is where you are bipolar but rather than having long mood swings they move quickly and can come and go even within a day. If it is causing you to feel suicidal it is a problem and don't give up searching.
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1167245_tn?1353882100
Yes, there are many manifestations of bipolar disorder that deviate from the "classic" form, and it's more common in people who have type II, where only hypomania is experienced, rather than full mania. Technically, rapid cycling means that a person has 4 or more episodes of mania, hypomania, and/or depression within a year. Then there's ultra rapid cycling, and then there's ulta-ultra rapid cycling, which means that a person can experience mood swings within the span of a day or two.

My personal experience was similar, in the sense that I was diagnosed with depression first and then bipolar disorder several years later when the hypomanic aspects became destructive enough to no longer go unmentioned and unnoticed.  Like you, I had found the treatments for depression to be unhelpful, and then when a strong antidepressant was tried, I was sent into a long period of hypomania that turned into a mixed episode and ended with a hospitalization. Since then, I've gone on to experience spontaneous hypomanic and what is thought to be full mixed episodes, so maybe the antidepressant was an early trigger for something that was going to happen eventually. Or something else may have happened, I'm not sure.

Unfortunately, this is the risk and the dilemma when treating for depression; there is a possibility that antidepressant medication will "flip" the mood into mania or hypomania. In addition, some people with undiagnosed bipolar disorder of some kind will find that their moods are not helped by depression treatment alone. Another factor of yours is that the treatment for ADD was also unsuccessful, so it may be that what they were thinking was ADD was in fact a symptom of hypomania, which often includes difficulty concentrating.

So, basically, it's not impossible that you have bipolar disorder instead of depression just because your cycles are shorter than normal. If you read about bipolar disorder and feel that you can really identify with the experiences, then try to speak with your doctor about it. Hopefully you can get an accurate diagnosis, whatever it may be, and you can get some sort of treatment that helps you out more than what you've tried so far! Good luck, let us know what you come up with!
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1367773_tn?1286725374
Obviously you would want to see a psychiatrist to help you figure out what is going on.  You can start keeping a mood tracker/diary.  There are many types including one on this site.  My pdoc (psychiatrist) makes me give the "high" and the "low" for each day.  Sometimes they are the same.  It is good to mention any problems like irritability, anxiety, aggression, etc. on the chart.  Sometimes it takes time for a psychiatrist to figure out what is going on, particularly which "type" of bipolar you might have.  

I have had many medication changes over the years.  The pdoc now says I am Bipolar II.  I have been mostly depressed, mostly manic, rapid cycling, etc. all at different times.  I became depressed when I was physically disabled and I thought it was "just" depression.  I didn't realize that the "super woman" worker and wife/mother I had been for years was part of the disorder.  I am not that person any longer.

By the way, I do have PTSD, OCD etc.
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Avatar_f_tn
those of you who are married to someone that is bipolar.  please tell me about your experiences and how you deal with them....Ups and downs, no medication taken.  I always say there is never a dull moment since I don't know what the mood is at the time.  It has been hard over the years. 23 to be exact.  I have learned to sometimes take it with a grain of salt but it does effect me at times.  
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