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Bipolar Disorder Community
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573297 tn?1304712740

Bipolar and Fibromyalgia

Does anyone have both dx and yet their pdoc doesn't believe them? I got diagnosed like 8 years ago I think (kind of don't remember...the exact time) but now this year I get dx of bipolar and my pdoc doesn't believe I have fibromyalgia...I know I have the pain....and it feels like it is coming back, and if so this is the fourth flare up (one lasting two years, one lasting 6 months to a year, one was three months because of the depo-provera shot) what do I do to get taken seriously?  Am I too crazy to have pain? To be taken seriously? I have my pdoc appointment tonight and my GP appointment tomorrow afternoon. Is anyone in the same predicament?
7 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi, I would point out to your pdoc very firmly that you were dx with the fibromyalgia BEFORE being dx bipolar.

Also explain to your doc that the pdoc isn't listening with regard to your fibromyalgia diagnosis.  He/she may be prepared to write to your pdoc.

573297 tn?1304712740
Thanks...yes and it is a good thing I got the fibromyalgia diagnosis before...can you imagine the reverse? My GP believes me for sure....my pdoc says he isn't sure it is fibromyalgia or the pain that bipolars get....because just because I was diagnosed as one before the other.....he believes I have had the bipolar since I was a teen.....he makes me wonder about myself. But you are right!!!!!
581210 tn?1220838380
Pain that bipolars get??? There is no diagnostic pain criteria for bipolar.  Where did you pdoc get his degree--online???
Avatar universal
Physical pain can be part of depression, therefore it would be included in BP - I suffer from chronic pain syndrome. Hell if I know why, but since I have switched to mood stabilizers, my pain levels have gone down.  Much pain is located in the brain not the area of pain.  I think I have been Bp since I was 7, looking back at my behaviors, boy it all makes sense. wow!
Avatar universal
Hello I was diagnosed with bi polar when I was 23 the prob is if your diet is bad you can experience symptoms of bi polar bc of a lack of certain vitamins and minerals also its genetic you are either born with it or your not. With fibromyalgia you can acquire this syndrome at any age and once you have it you have it forever. No one can make someone understand the pain fibromyalgia brings. Even though docs should be able to understand they dont because too many people are addicted to narcotic pain meds so unfortunately for those who are worthy of the pain meds get screwed because of those who dont need it. I dont think your doc doesn't believe you I think the prob is if you get addicted it comes back on them and no doc wants to lose their license over something like this. Since I started lyrica and oxycodone and tramadol I feel alot better I still have days with fibromyalgia that I have to go to the er because the pain is so bad. I do have nites where I pray I dont wake in the morning. There is no test for fibromyalgia this syndrome masks alot of things like RA, Lupis, Lymes disease, cervical spine stenosis and once your doc does the tests for these things if they all come back neg you def have fibromyalgia. I have 4 kids and my fibromyalgia pain is so bad some days Id rather be giving birth. It def *****. I am in pain 24/7 it never ends. Fibromyalgia causes anxiety, depression, mood swings, nausea, constipation, etc..... Now that I know I have fibromyalgia I def know I am not bi polar but my doc still makes me take the bi polar meds. I think to much is over diagnosed its easy for a doc to just throw a label on you so keep fighting and get as many docs opinions as you can dont just except the one. Make them do their job it is your body you know you better than they do and dont back down til they start trying to seriously figure out what is going on with you. If I had backed down with my first doc I prob would still be getting treatments for cervical spine stenosis when all this time I have had fibromyalgia. This is a very complicated syndrome hopefully for those of us who suffer from it will eventually get relief because docs will gain more knowledge about this beast. Best of luck xoxo
Avatar universal
First question I have is is your pdoc a psychologist or a psychiatrist?  Fibromayalgia is what they USED to call a "garbage can diagnosis".  I've been in the medical field for some time as an RN.  If they couldn't figure out the etiology of your pain, they diagnosed you with fibromyalgia.  Then, they came out with specific diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia(FM) which most MD's (unfortunately) still do not use,much less even know what the criteria are!  They used to associate it closely with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome(CFS) and Ebstein-Barr virus(EBV).  The EBV part has largely been discounted since it has been found that many asymptomatic people have EBV. BUT, CFS can be related to FM because most people that have FM have some type of sleep disturbance.  Most people that have FM also have low levels of Growth Hormone (GH). Which is released according to circadian rhythms.  GH allows calcium release in cells which facilitate cellular repair. So when a person has chronic sleep disturbance, GH is not released in normal levels and muscles don't repair at night as they should.
All that to say this, people that have bipolar disorder often have sleep disturbances as well.  Is it possible that the sleep disorder of BP can cause the pain of FM?  Sure.  Is it possible that the stress of a sleep disorder causing unrelenting pain for years and then having that pain ridiculed by your doctor enough to cause a slip into bipolar disorder? Possibly. (Recall the recent case of Catherine Zeta-Jones developing BP due to the stress caused by Michael Douglas' cancer battle).
If your pdoc is a psychologist and is making the statement I'd find another psychologist.  If you pdoc is a psychiatrist that is making the statement, he/she is probably one of the school of doctors that still does not recognize the medical diagnosis of fibromyalgia and again, I'd probably look for another one.
I did one of my doctoral research papers on fibromyalgia.  
Avatar universal
Fibromyalgia is much much more common in people with bipolar disorder. Patients with fibromyalgia are 153 times more likely than those with rheumatoid arthritis to have bipolar disorder! So there is definently a link. I have both although my fibromyalgia isn't that bad. It was at one point but since taking medication to help me sleep (trazodone) it has gotten much better. I am still in pain every day but it isn't bone crushing pain. I also found taking lamotrigine helps with my pain. And the things that help FMS also help bipolar, exercise, eating right, having a consistent bedtime.

FMS can be cyclical too so my hope for you is that this episode ends soon.
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