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.
Want to fill out mood diary, but is being unmedicated too dangerous?
I have been severely depressed for over 5 years and was diagnosed with depression and anxiety last year by my current psychiatrist. Since then I tried a couple of different medications and both made me manic. I have also tried psychotherapy but it didn't help.
Since the manic episode on the last medication (which was about 6 months ago), I noticed that I was experiencing some intense mood swings. I didn't think anything of it at that time. Then a couple of months ago I remember feeling really good and energetic for about a week or so, which was then followed by three weeks of severe psychotic depression, and for about a week now I have been in a good mood again.
My psychiatrist said that it's possible I could be bipolar and wants me to fill out a mood diary for the next few months. She also said I should probably start taking an antidepressant along with either a Lamictal or Seroquel as I could have another psychotic episode or go manic if I take antidepressants alone like last time. My question is, which option should I take? She has me wondering now whether or not I am bipolar, but she said she can only make a diagnosis after I have filled out the mood chart for a few months while not on any medication to see if there is a pattern in my mood. Should I stay off all medication while I fill out the mood diary or is the risk of having another psychotic depressive episode just too dangerous?
Thanks for your email. I think that mood charting is a great idea. I don't think that it is necessarily an either/or (mood charting or taking medication), you could get started mood charting and then if things are not going well you could take medication and keep mood charting (in other words mood charting will help you and your psychiatrist make sense of what is going on even if you do it while taking medication).
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