Mood Disorders Expert Forum
Hypomania or just normal mood swings?
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Welcome to the Mood Disorders Forum. Questions in this forum are being answered by Peter Forster, MD and topics covered are anxiety, bipolar, depression, panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder and stress.

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Hypomania or just normal mood swings?

I am 16 and have been diagnosed with depression. I have tried two different antidepressants and both made me spiral in to a manic episodes - each ending in a suicide attempt and thus being taken off the medication. I am currently off medication altogether, but have been experiencing mood swings. I can go from being so depressed that I literally can't even function, to being very talkative, energetic, racing thoughts, impulsive and sometimes paranoia. My mood can change in minutes and happens on average, once every couple of days. I have discussed this with my psychiatrist but she put it down to normal teenage mood swings. But isn't that what they call rapid cycling? Where you change from very depressed to hypomanic frequently?

I don't know whether to trust my doctor and go with what she says or push on with my gut instincts that this isn't right. I just don't want her to think I don't trust her as a doctor and keep bringing up issues we've already discussed. It's not like these mood swings are a big problem in my life - it's more the depression I want to go away. But every time I go on an antidepressant to treat the depression it sends me in to full blown mania - so it gives me the idea that these mood swings might be related to it.

I guess I just need some advice on what to do next and how I can raise my concerns - if I should at all. Any help?
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One thing I would suggest is that you read some more about your symptoms. A good book is "Why Am I Still Depressed"... it talks a lot about the bipolar spectrum and the idea of "soft bipolar."
I would also suggest that you start mood charting. You could use the mood tracker that is on this site. Or you could use "Optimism Online" which is a paid service. If you would like, and you are willing to open, or already have, a Google account I could send you a link to a mood chart that we use in our clinic.
Having more data when you see your psychiatrist and reviewing it with her may take the conversation away from "I think something is wrong and I may have bipolar" versus "I think these moods are just typical of adolescence". In other words, if you can look at how much mood variation there is  together you might be able to decide collaboratively what to do.
Personally, I think that what you describe sounds like a pretty good story for some kind of bipolar disorder and I think that you are right to be concerned about the treatment plan, but obviously I don't know you and one can't make a diagnosis by email.
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