View Full Version : Am I Bi-polar?


Xeon
06-18-09, 01:12 AM
I've never actually considered being bi-polar, but then again the whole diagnostic criteria is very sketchy... Certain symptoms can overlap ADD and don't really apply to me in all cases. I sometimes go through mood cycling, I go into bouts of depression for weeks and then bouts of optimism and sense of well being for weeks. But I don't have grandiose illusions or insane ideas of what I'm capable of. My mood seems affected by the weather and seasons. For example cloudy days I usually have a flat mood which is calm and relaxing, hot sunny days bring on anxiety and anger, cool nice days bring on happiness... its just weird how many factors affect my emotion. I seem to think better when my mind has been stimulated for that day, such as driving around town and taking in some sights... So that could be seasonal effective disorder...but who knows. Just when I think I have a handle on how my mind works it throws me a curve ball and I have to start all over...:confused:

meadd823
06-18-09, 03:04 AM
Over half of all ADDers have a secondary condition to keep their ADD company which is why we have sub-forums for various coexisting conditions.
Bipolar and ADD (http://www.addforums.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?s=&f=55&page=1&pp=25&sort=lastpost&order=desc&daysprune=30)

lostmykeys
06-18-09, 11:52 PM
Sounds like it.

I was dx with it but I have never considered myself bipolar.

Since my moods change between the winter and summer, it is a form of cycling. I have SAD in the winter but don't feel extremely depressed (especially in Seattle, Ohio and WA DC). I don't have a lot of anxiety. In the Spring, I feel more anxiety.

In the summers, I feel "rearing to go" and also have more anxiety. It's not really true mania but could be described as hypomania. I have been told my high anxiety is actually a form of hypomania. I have never had grandeous feeling, either.

Bipolar has a bad rap. I believe there are many more people who have it but tend to picture a rapid cycler or someone he absolutely manic - no sleeping - to agressive - to depressive all in a matter of hours, days and weeks. That is actually just a few people.

If you are on a stimulant medication, that could make the anxiety or hypomania worse, especially in the spring and summer. If you take the stimulant meds in the winter, it could help with the fatigue and possible depression (that is if you are on the bipolar spectrum). If you are on medication, have you ever felt like that??

I am currently going through that and have been for the past week. It's a form of anxiety that is making me feel so horrible. I need to readjust my meds.

The DSM - V is coming out in the next few years. I have heard that the bipolar dx criteria is changing. they are adding more forms - and a lesser one will be seasonal individuals like myself. I can't wait to have a less stigmatizing label that actually describes me more.

Driver
06-19-09, 03:19 AM
Your mood changes appear to have triggers; bipolar mood swings tend not to have external triggers - they just happen.

Sounds like you just suffer from Depression and/or SAD.

Andi
06-22-09, 10:28 PM
I am also bipolar, II rapid cycling. External factors do trigger my moods and seasonal affective disorder does interfere with my stability. I tend to be more depressive with intermittent states of hypo mania and I have only had a few actual "manic" episodes which were medicinally induced.

Bipolar disorder is distinguished from unipolar depression by the jumps between states of mania and depression of the affected person...often illustrated by extreme highs and lows. Often bipolar is inconsistent among individuals because some people feel depressed more often than not and experience little mania states whereas others may predominantly experience manic symptoms. The lists of criteria for an individual to be diagnosed depend on both the presence and duration of certain signs and symptoms.

Hope this helps...

hollywood
06-23-09, 11:30 AM
Define mania , other than the definitive crazy examples I read online and in journals. I think after all this time I may be bipolar. I take things to the extreme and workout and focus on my body incessently, I get super bored with routines. I take wellbutrin with my stimulants and now I realize I am not depressed nor have I ever been too depressed, rather it stabalizes my moods. I do have some issues with anxiety though and am not sure if I am truly bipolar, it's hard to tell. I took pristiq for a few days and my adhd symptom control and work and goal oriented tasks improved, but I think I had some mania ? Is that possible, all I could think about were things that were sexual? I'm not sure because I didn't do anything but my thoughts were annoying?

gnbeg
06-23-09, 12:52 PM
According to my pdoc, these are some of the key bipolar characteristics:

Bouts of anger, or generally angry. I have had times where I have approached meetings or conversations ready to start or participate in an argument.
Alcohol or other substance abuse that has negatively effected your life. When I was a teen, I definitely abused alcohol. I had a car accident, involved in fights, was arrested.
Extreme behavior- I am either extreme or conservative, rarely inbetween. I either go all out, to the extreme-hyper focus- for something or none at all.
Problems managing finances. Related to extreme behavior. Not a big deal for me, but I do occassionaly get overextended financially by not thinking through big purchases.
history of hypermanic cycles and cycles of depression. Never thought about it until I was diagnosed, but I have had cycles of depression all the way back to high school.
History of substance abuse, depression or anger in family, parents.


Hope this helps.

KDLMaj
06-23-09, 01:11 PM
Honestly, hypomania and hyperactivity have very similar diagnostic criteria, but here are the big differences to look for:

Sleep:
ADHD: Often characterized by chronic sleep deprivation. Person will tend to stay up very late 'doing things' even when it is obvious that staying up will cause problems the next morning. Person will be exhausted the next morning from lack of sleep (until their hyperactivity starts kicking in a bit later).

Bipolar: During hypomanic periods, person will tend to stay up very late 'doing things' even when it is obvious that staying up will cause problems the next morning. Person will NOT, however, be exhausted the next morning. Person will be able to deal with 4-5 hours of sleep no problem.

Eating:

ADHD: People with ADHD often have poor eating habits and will not eat regularly, skipping meals (due to being distracted from their own hunger) during the day seemingly without consequences. Invariably, however, late in the day the person will become aware of how incredibly hungry they are and will eat.

Bipolar: People with bipolar disorder during hypomanic stages will often eat very little, but this is due to a lack of hunger not distraction. They don't tend to feel ravenous hunger later in the day as a consequence of not eating.

High Risk Behaviors:

ADHD: People with ADHD often engage chronically in high risk behaviors, but it can be traced to a lack of foresight and impulsive decision making- hunting down high stimulation activities. When asked why they engaged in a particular high-risk, high stimulation activity, they are often unable to give a well reasoned explanation for why.

Bipolar: People in hypomanic states also engage in high risk behaviors, but they are often able to explain specifically why they did what they did. There is a well reasoned (though generally irrational) explanation for their behavior.

Hope that helps you make some differentiations. The Sleep issue is the easiest and most reliable.

hollywood
06-23-09, 01:25 PM
clearly I'm not bipolar then...... Wonder why I felt weird on my first few days of effexor then? Taking effexor with my stims that is . I has some increase in anxiety but I was doing more goal oriented tasks and able to carry on conversations much more normally and carefree. I think effexor , pristiq has some interesting properties, I felt calm and that is good but I did notice an arousal increase, but I could of just been extremely bored.

KDLMaj
06-23-09, 05:04 PM
How one responds to a medication like effexor is only partially determined by their disorder-there are MANY other factors that can play into it. And effexor isn't a bipolar medication per se- it's an antidepressant/antianxiety medication (that is also believed to be useful in high doses for ADHD- particularly when combined with a drug like wellbutrin, which I assume is what you're on)

However, a feeling of mild euphoria after starting a medication that affects norepenephrine and seratonin is far from unusual- norepenephrine carries dopamine with it. Also, it may very well have simply been providing some symptom relief- which is going to make you feel better. I had the same response (sans extra anxiety) a few days after taking strattera.

ADDMagnet
06-23-09, 10:51 PM
Interestingly, many of the characteristics you mention are strikingly similar to the symptoms of borderline personality disorder, which is frequently misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder.


According to my pdoc, these are some of the key bipolar characteristics:
Bouts of anger, or generally angry. I have had times where I have approached meetings or conversations ready to start or participate in an argument.
Compare to #8 of the 9 criteria listed in the DSM-IV for Borderline Personality Disorder:


8. Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights).
Alcohol or other substance abuse that has negatively effected your life. When I was a teen, I definitely abused alcohol. I had a car accident, involved in fights, was arrested.
Compare to Criteria #4 of the DSM-IV for BPD:


4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, shoplifting, reckless driving, binge eating).
Extreme behavior- I am either extreme or conservative, rarely inbetween. I either go all out, to the extreme-hyper focus- for something or none at all.
#2 which is somewhat different but there are some parallels:

2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.

This relates to a defense mechanism known as "splitting" or sometimes termed, "black and white thinking". People or situations can sometimes be seen as either "all good" or "all bad" with no gray areas. In my MIL's world, you either could "do no wrong" or "do no right" depending on which category she placed you in. No in-betweens.


Problems managing finances. Related to extreme behavior. Not a big deal for me, but I do occassionaly get overextended financially by not thinking through big purchases.
See #4 above listing impulsiveness in spending, that is self-damaging.
history of hypermanic cycles and cycles of depression. Never thought about it until I was diagnosed, but I have had cycles of depression all the way back to high school.
Criteria #6:

6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days). {Dysphoria is the opposite of euphoria. It's a mixture of depression, anxiety, rage and despair.}

One difference is that those with BPD do not experience euphoria. They can go from normal to really depressed or really angry in a matter of minutes, or even seconds. Moods can change several times within a day.

Criteria # 5:

5. Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior.

The self-mutilating behavior is what many people associate with BPD but not everyone has this feature. There are a total of 9 criteria and only 5 criteria need to be met for a diagnosis of BPD.

Criteria # 7:

7. Chronic feelings of emptiness.


This can also appear as extreme boredom or perhaps mild depression.
History of substance abuse, depression or anger in family, parents.
Hope this helps.

The three remaining criteria are:
1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
3. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently
unstable self image or sense of self.
9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.

There is a 10% suicide rate for BPD sufferers. Low self-esteem is common and depression is a common comorbidity.


My comments are listed after the numbered criteria and are not part of the criteria listed in the DSM-IV. (I hope this wasn't too confusing.) The intense anger that many with BPD experience, can mistakenly be attributed to mania. My husband's therapist insisted he was bipolar because of his anger. But he had never experienced mania or hypomania in his entire life. And he fit 8 of the 9 criteria for BPD. And those with BPD have mood swings but they are much quicker, involve a trigger (although the trigger may not always be apparent), and do not involve euphoria. Also, whereas someone in a manic state does not want or require much sleep, most BPD individuals, after having a rage attack, have a tendency to go to sleep.

hollywood
06-24-09, 09:45 AM
kdlmaj,

your right I am not bipolar, it is strange for me after all this time to get symptom relief and yes I am on wellbutrin. The wellbutrin keeps me out of depression and helps with fatigue, and I guess the pristiq or effexor calmed me in a stressed environment for once. It was strange to feel me operate so smoothly for the first time since college. To get those skills and calm focus back is strange and alarming so quickly. I will proceed with the pristiq


addmagnet,
Not sure whom you were addressing regarding borderline, and I am not defensive as I am certain that does not apply to myself but did in grad school find the work on borderline interesting for one reason only and that reason is that borderline is not really valid or a valid mood disorder, most people can think of borderline as a mutation of untreated adhd or some other personality malfunction.

surfergirl
06-24-09, 11:52 AM
I have had similar thoughts about my moods- up & down & all the things that seem to effect me. I tend to go up & down in a daily, sometimes with great intensity of emotions. Sometimes for days, weeks, all is really "perfect". Season, weather, sunlight, hormones, sleep, alcohol use (rare) all effect my mood. I am beginning to realize that treating my ADD is just a start. I some signs of borderline (especially as a teenager) than bipolar yet somehow I have a stable job & a family at this point in life...Since I had ADD but was not treated as a youth I am sure that contributed a lot to my problems w/ school, self medicating(vs drug use). Anyway, mood instability is still an issue with me.

I am keeping a moods chart & working with my psychiatrist to try to get some insight. Here is a link for the mood chart I use. I also journal just a little.

http://www.psychiatry24x7.com/content/backgrounders/www.psychiatry24x7.tld/psychiatry24x7.emea_com/blank_chart.pdf

It can take months of keeping a mood chart to detect patterns. I don't crave another diagnosis which I fear might be coming. But relief would be nice.

hollywood
06-24-09, 02:30 PM
it's willy nilly mood swings.. common for adhd . don't look any further into it.

KDLMaj
06-24-09, 04:23 PM
Yeah, mood swings are definitely a big part of ADHD (emotional regulation is considered to be a primary impairment). But the cycling happens VERY rapidly compared to bipolar disorder. Also, the qualities that indicate hypomanic states (like impulsivity, for example) are consistent with ADHD whereas they are episodic with bipolar disorder. (Though there's a big neurological overlap between the two- many bipolar folks also meet the criteria for ADHD- so it's always a messy distinction to make)

ADDMagnet
06-25-09, 10:51 PM
kdlmaj,

addmagnet,
Not sure whom you were addressing regarding borderline, and I am not defensive as I am certain that does not apply to myself but did in grad school find the work on borderline interesting for one reason only and that reason is that borderline is not really valid or a valid mood disorder, most people can think of borderline as a mutation of untreated adhd or some other personality malfunction.

I wasn't suggesting that anyone was borderline and I am sorry if it came off that way. I was only commenting on the descriptions that a doctor had made about bipolar disorder. That's why my post wasn't addressed to anyone.

However, I can tell you that BPD is a valid disorder and I am aware that it is not considered a mood disorder, but it does involve mood swings. Just because some people think of BPD as a mutation of untreated adhd or as an invalid disorder does not make it so. Some people don't believe ADHD is a valid disorder but that doesn't make it so. You might want to check out www.neabpd.org (http://www.neabpd.org) for more info if you don't believe it is a valid disorder. Or check out McLean Hospital, a teaching facility for Harvard Medical School, that has an adolescent residential unit for treating borderline personality disorder.

hollywood
06-26-09, 03:53 PM
addmagnet,

check yourself , I'm well read and studied. Adhd is probably next to depression the most clear cut and has been demonstrated with clear proof from brain imagery that shows their clearly is a difference in the dopamine levels in thos e with and those without the disorder. They even have brain images where people who are asked to perform a task that involves cognition at it's highest levels and in those with adhd the response to the stimulus ( the task) actually made it harder to focus. Now , according to bpd all I said was that it's not clear cut and it is under dispute regardless of what quacks say that adhd is not real. We all know it is real and it can be proven, maybe the disorder did catch some media buzz and some docs overprescribe but by and large science validates adhd. Anyways, I'm not going on a ahd rant or going back and forth with you debating the discussion. Case closed and I mean nothing more than mentioning the fact that borderline is up for debate. Adhd is a neurological brain disorder period and we all know it.

SuzzanneX
06-26-09, 05:23 PM
Man, that would be the boldest statement Ive ever made, to try and diagnose you!

....I'm crazy!

Scattered
08-16-09, 03:46 AM
Xenon,

ADHD causes problem with mood regulation. Dr. Tom Brown does a great job of explaining it in his book Attention Deficit Disorder: The Unfocused Mind in Children and Adults. Part or the job of the executive functions (found in the frontal lobes) is regulating emotions, so ADDers are more likely to have depression, anxiety and other issues to deal with.

You're symptoms and fluxes sound a lot like mine. If they're not extreme or causing big problems in your life, they don't sound like bipolar to me (though I'm not a doctor). What really helped me as well as some folks I've worked with who have ADD is taking Omega III's (they help smooth out some of the highs and lows by providing the building blocks for seratonin) and getting regular exercise. I haven't had any of the bigger dips since I started with the Omega III's. I haven't tried the SADD light yet, but I've worked with folks who found them very helpful when the days got shorter.

Take care