I have experienced med triggered bipolar symptoms, I think lithium turned me psychotic. I do think meds change our brain chemistry, but the brain is amazing. If the meds caused it, the brain can heal from it, true bipolar has no cure nor do we actually know the cause. A 4 year old girl had the left hemisphere of her brain surgically removed. The removal was done over time, to give the information of the left brain time to be transferred to the right side of her brain. Last I heard, she was over 40 years old and living a normal life. So, if meds are the cause, then maybe it isn't really bipolar, but symptoms that are similar. Addiction causes a lot of bipolar symptoms as well, but addiction is not bipolar.
My thoughts about your new doctor, is that she is sharing a valid theory, but being that we don't even really know what bipolar is, it is still a theory, as nobody knows the cause for certain. I am not saying it is wrong, just that there is no way to prove it one way or the other. I read a post the other day. A friend was saying their doctor said that opiates caused OCD, depersonalization, and addiction, so the doctor said she had 3 separate diagnosis. If you are simply looking at symptoms, that may be true, but all her symptoms had one cause, addiction, so in my opinion, she has one diagnosis, addiction. She may have more, but until she is off the meds for many months, maybe a year, she will not know if she is genuinely OCD, BPD, or simply the drugs caused all the symptoms of various issues.
This is the issue I see in allopathic as well as naturopathic practitioners treating bipolar, we don't really know the cause, so how can we look at it? We have no options accept to treat symptoms and hope for the best. I hope the drugs are the cause of your symptoms, it's worth finding out, but I wouldn't say any doctor really knows about bipolar, not enough to give a definitive diagnosis and treatment. There is a bit of experimenting that most of us with bipolar go through, seldom does the first treatment option do the job permanently, and rarely do meds work more than 10 years.
My therapist agrees, I could be OCD, ADHD, AD, depressive, and many others, depending on the day or month you talk to me. Fact is, I am bipolar 1, that is the root of all the other symptoms, even my addiction past. I think it is wise to really consider what any doctor says and suggests, doesn't matter how good a doctor they are, bipolar is such a unique experience for all of us. There are some common symptoms, but we all have many various ways that bipolar expresses itself, many look like other illnesses or other causes. Many are mis diagnosed bipolar. I think opiates reduced my bipolar symptoms for years, then the symptoms of addiction were worse than my bipolar had been, I was going to die. So, was that opiate induced bipolar, or was the bipolar simply influenced by meds? Did the bipolar adapt to the meds and express itself in a new way? Did the lithium cause my pschotic episode or was I gonna have one anyway, but happened to be on lithium? I don't think I will ever know.
All these "theories" are why I have formed my own, it's bound to be as good a guess as anyone. I am still seeking such a thing as healthy bipolar, I am not trying to make it go away. I about went nuts trying to make it go away, but have been much better since I decided to stop resisting my own mind. Anyway, hope this helps in some way. I don't think I would worry as much about the diagnosis and theories on why you are diagnosed as you are, but work on being healthy and strong, whether you are bipolar or not. Who couldn't use more coping skills and character building? I think it is better to stick with what we know for sure, so eat healthy, exercise, monitor your sleep, practice constructive thinking, we know all those things are good for anyone, so I think that is the best place to start.
I finally decided I am bipolar, when all my life was going well, yet I still went manic and flipped into depression. I was on no meds for over a year, not even pot or alcohol. My relationships were improving, my diet was good, getting exercise, and felt good about the direction I was going in. That was when I started to escalate and take on way more than one man can do. I had thought I had gained control of my mind and then I just kept going more and more manic. I ended up going into a mixed state and having a psychotic break. That is when I was ready to accept that i am bipolar, not from addiction, childhood, divorce, meds, I was born this way. I am not sure how you felt, when you accepted that diagnoses years ago, so maybe it's time to re evaluate your mind.
Do you still go manic and depressed, when things are going really well for you and yours, or is it always triggered by your situation? What made you take meds to begin with? You started taking meds, so before that, you must have felt something to make you start taking them to begin with. Was your diagnosis caused or perpetuated by meds, I hope so, that means you can totally heal. If it is genuine bipolar, then there is no known cure, so you have to find as healthy a way to live as you can. That may mean meds, it may not, that decision is what you are in the process of making right now. Don't stop searching, take good care of yourself, and I believe you will find a way to live a healthy life, bipolar or not, no matter what the cause.
We talked about this a little and I would love to know anything you find out during your research. I think Weaver would like to know too. Tony, I would like to speak with you sometime in the near future. I will be available later on this evening if you get a chance.
Thanks for your thorough reply. I have delt with depression (mild) since my early 20's and started anti dep., dif ones at diff times. When I was around 40 the depression got worse, started to drink moderately unless I was really depressed on a given night would drink a lot and become sucidal. Needless to say I don't drink period anymore. I tried to commit sucide at age 40 and a few times since with multiple visits to the pscy ward. The second time of trying is when they diagnosised me with Bipolar. And from then on been on meds and have had so many episodes it's ridiculous and severe side effects. I have always been a hyper person and could do everything for everyone my whole life. I have 4 children, grown now. So you see, it's confusing.
I know I can't drink and be on meds or else, so I don't. I didn't have this rollar coaster ride until pscy meds. We relied on one, the first dr to diagnosise me.
There's no doubt about it, I have Bipolar. But is it med induced?????? The 10000 dollar question. I didn't have all of these problems until I became a guina pig for all of these meds. That's why I was asking my question.
I meet with my pdoc on the 20th and I plan on discussing with her the possibility of weening off meds. I don't think things could be much worse but maybe I'm wrong. I just won't know until I try. I feel I have to try and at the same time incorporate a better way of living. You are right, they are a must.
To answer one of your questions, It took me several yrs., attempts and pscy wards to acknowledge I had Bipolar.
I have had undiagnoised ADHD since childhood and one son has diagnosised ADHD. He does very well with no meds. He just can't take them. He's med sensitive like me. One son has mild depression in the winter and my other 2 kids have no mental issues. So no Bipolar with my kids.
I agree that there is med induced bipolarity. AD's drive you manic which is the differential diagnosis for BP. All what I am sure of is that nobody knows anything. A subject is very difficult. pdocs within 5 mins diagnose you. All types of illnesses can be diagnosed by MRI, Echo, Sonar, blood test, etc...except psychiatry an interview settles the matter.
I visited at least a dozen of pdocs and I believed or trusted none. Never convinced. it was the mistake of one who prescribed an AD that made me bipolar. This is true, I wasn't bipolar until I took this AD. If I am bipolar I would have manifested the symptoms from start not when I took an AD. But the fact is that once you become manic once, you run the risk of renewing it, so you better watch yourself such that when hyper take an AP or a mood stabilizer.
I encourage you to consult your new holistic Dr. If you succeed plz tell me to consider this new road. The problem when you stop the meds and you start again your dose increases and that is the drawback if you fail.
correct I agree that there is med induced bipolar
Thanks for your replys. I really appreciate it. Adel, I sent you a message.
I think the real question you are asking is, Did meds cause(induce) bipolar or did they trigger(influence) pre existing bipolar? You are bipolar, this is a query as to why. I think we have to have bipolar already, for meds to bring symptoms to the surface. Marijuana is known to trigger a first episode, yet nobody says marihuana caused it. Drug induced mental states are temporary, yet they can trigger pre-existing conditions. I have seen people panic and get manic on marijuana, but it has always gone away, after the marijuana high subsides. If AD's 'cause' mania, then more people would be manic on AD's, as it is, those who go manic on them have bipolar tendencies after the drug wears off. So, there must be some predisposition for meds to trigger bipolar in select people. Why would medication cause permenant bipolar in some, but help prevent manic tendencies in most who take it? That is why I think meds trigger bipolar, but do not believe they are the sole cause of bipolar. If they did cause it, one woukd at least have to have some weakness or difference than all the thousands who take the same meds and don't become bipolar.
Very helpful. Thanks Weaver!
Do what it takes to feel better.
My BP came most severely at menopause. So the hormones that regulate everything in the body can trigger episodes. Men have less if certain hormones as they age too.
What's more dangerous? Hormone replacement therapy or a Bipolar cocktail? How do these chemicals harm our liver, kidneys and the rest?
But us BP's can not kill ourselves every year. Nor can we watch TV 24/7 & shut the rest of the world out.
My Pdoc is experimenting with a different therapy. I just want to be happy darn it.