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Is this manic?


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I don't really know. Im kinda new to this bipolar stuff. All I know is I can't go to the store to pick up a *few* things. I end up spending a couple hundred dollars. Or, I just go to the store to spend that kind of money. We are now in credit card debt up to about $20,000, and I just can't stop spending. Online, in stores, whatever. I buy clothes, necessities, jewelry, shoes, makeup, stuff I never really thought about getting but when I saw it, I bought it because it looked neat. Last time I talked to my tdoc about it, she wasn't totally sure it was a mania. She said we would keep an eye on it. Last night I got it in my head that i needed a new scale. I couldn't sleep because I had to have this new scale. So, I got up, went to Walmart, and bought a scale at 1am. The kicker? I got it home, and the damn thing didn't even work, I have to take it back today! I bought one online that was even more expensive. I don't tell my husband about all my spending because Im afraid to. I almost feel like Im addicted to shopping. My pdoc is on vacation for a while, and I don't see him again for 2 months. I feel good, I had been really depressed and feeling crappy, and now that Im finally feeling good, Im afraid to mess with the meds. So, for those of you who know more than me on this subject, what do you think? I see my tdoc on Thursday, as long as I can find someone to watch my kids for me.

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- Keep in mind that shopping/spending can be a pleasurable experience that takes ones mind off problems or even an addiction that is a psychiatric illness by itself.

- When considering mania/hypomania, one cannot look at a single symptom. Bipolar disorder has mutiple symptoms, which overlap with a number of othe illnesses and is notoriously difficult to diagnose, even for experienced pdocs. Patients often have very poor insight to recognizing their own symptoms. Here are the criteria for hypomania, so that you can consider them yourself. The symtpoms for full mania are essentially similar but more extreme and longer lasting.

a.m.

Criteria for Hypomanic Episode (DSM-IV, p. 338)1

A. A distinct period of persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood, lasting throughout at least 4 days, that is clearly different from the usual nondepressed mood.

B. During the period of mood disturbance, three (or more) of the following symptoms have persisted (four if the mood is only irritable) and have been present to a significant degree:

1. inflated self-esteem or grandiosity

2. decreased need for sleep (e.g., feels rested after only 3 hours of sleep)

3. more talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking

4. flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are racing

5. distractibility (i.e., attention too easily drawn to unimportant or irrelevant external stimuli)

6. increase in goal-directed activity (either socially, at work or school, or sexually) or psychomotor agitation

7. excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences (e.g., engaging in unrestrained buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, or foolish business investments)

C. The episode is associated with an unequivocal change in functioning that is uncharacteristic of the person when not symptomatic.

D. The disturbance in mood and the change in functioning are observable by others.

E. The episode is not severe enough to cause marked impairment in social or occupational functioning, or to necessitate hospitalization, and there are no psychotic features.

F. The symptoms are not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication, or other treatment) or a general medical condition (e.g., hyperthyroidism).

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Thanks for your responses. I still am not sure whats up with me. Last night I got an idea in my head about photography and couldn't sleep because I was going to take these awesome photos and I almost got out of bed at 1am just to start taking pictures. I see my tdoc this evening, so Im going to talk to her about all this. Thanks again.

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You may also want to give your credit cards to your husband or a trusted friend for safe keeping right now. Have someone else take control of your finances and give you a set amount of cash for the week. Getting into further debt is going to make things worse.

Whether or not this is a bipolar symptom only a pdoc could determine. I would explore it further.

Miss C.

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Sounds like you are manic if you "feel good" and you are lying awake at night obsessing about things you want to buy.

NO. mania does not necessarily feel good or euphoric, and when it does, that feeling often sours quickly. Obsession is not the right concept.

a.m.

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Sounds like you are manic if you "feel good" and you are lying awake at night obsessing about things you want to buy.

NO. mania does not necessarily feel good or euphoric, and when it does, that feeling often sours quickly. Obsession is not the right concept.

a.m.

True, my mania is definately the irritable, negative kind(dysphoric mania?)

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My spending issues virtually never come up during hypomania. During hypomania, I plan and start all of these projects (of relatively low expense) that I later don't have the energy to complete, either due to my physical infection or ensuing mental depression.

Most of my spending issues, really, come during depression. My logic being "well, I feel like shit, so maybe buying this will make me feel a little better." Then I buy this. And then that. And then this. And so forth. Although I have never racked up more than $500 in excess spending in any one given month, it does happen that the numbers can add up. Especially for someone like me who has low to no income. When I fell into a deep depression from the combination of Zyprexa's akathisia and Zyprexa withdrawal (hard to explain) in 2005, my dad had no idea what to do**, and went out and bought me a new car. Although I hated my old car and absolutely adore the new one (it now has over 40k miles on it), having the new car didn't do anything for my depression at the time. (n.B. - Cymbalta and trazodone, OTOH, did do quite a bit.) I suppose I have learned that spending a little is supposed to make one happy.

[**This is a little strange, given that he'd worked in pharmaceutical chemistry the past 25 years. But my parents were never of the bright sort, anyways.]

Sounds like you are manic if you "feel good" and you are lying awake at night obsessing about things you want to buy.

NO. mania does not necessarily feel good or euphoric, and when it does, that feeling often sours quickly. Obsession is not the right concept.

True, my mania is definately the irritable, negative kind(dysphoric mania?)

I think that's also known as the mixed mania/depression state.

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Sounds like you are manic if you "feel good" and you are lying awake at night obsessing about things you want to buy.

NO. mania does not necessarily feel good or euphoric, and when it does, that feeling often sours quickly. Obsession is not the right concept.

a.m.

Mania frequently feels euphoric for me, and is accompanied by grandiose ideas and obsessions.

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Well, according to my tdoc, I am manic. I told her about my spending sprees, about my grandiose ideas I've had while trying to fall asleep but instead staying awake obsessing about photography or buying a new scale. Im also having some obsessions. So, since my pdoc is out of the country on vacation, she is going to call tomorrow and find out who is filling in for him and see what we can do, or if I need to be seen. This is so not fun. I just want to be normal. Thanks everyone for all your input. You all are fabulous!

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