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SSRI only for Bipolar?


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Gosh, I've not posted in a very long time, but (and I know I'm not supposed to ask for medical advice) I wanted to see if anyone had any theories to share...

A bit of background, as concise as I can make it:

Periods of depression (no question about the depression) and hypomania (possibly... this is part of my question) back to my teen years.

Father was a classic BPI (lost him to suicide in 1997)

I suffered a more severe bout of depression in 2001. Went to GP. Given Prozac. Had terrible, horrible side effects and came close to being incoherent. Threw out Prozac and a few weeks later got lucky enough to get a full neuro screening, including MMPI test and others. Diagnosed as Cyclothymic, no medication recomended.

Depression never fully resolved, sought out our one and only Psychiatrist here in town for another eval. in 2004. Was told "Bipolar is Bipolar" - I, II, or Cyclothymia, nothwithstanding. Given Abilfy for 6 months (with lackluster results), weaned over to Lamictal for 6 months (with mild improvement, but not enough to justify the $425 per month cost). Weaned myself off all meds and sucked it up on my own for a couple more years.

2007 - after a discussion about years of dealing with depression and anxiety, different GP wanted to have me try Celexa. Leery, but hopeful, I tried it. Instantaneous improvement. Husband noticed mood improvement in 24 hours... Only bothersome side effect was excessive sweating (very excessive, like changing out of wet clothes twice before leaving the house some days... ;) ), so we switched to Lexapro for a month - which leads me up to today and some questions...

1. Doc says I'm probably not truly Bipolar because of the results of my various trials of meds. Which makes sense to me, since I keep hearing that you should treat the symptoms, not the diagnosis... But I still worry a bit about going manic at some point (which scares me after watching my father go there...) Any thoughts?

2. I suffered a pretty severe closed-head trauma at age 12 (thrown through a windshield by a drunk driver). With all the new research about TMI (Traumatic Brain Injury) coming from the VA due to service member injuries, I have begun to wonder if that my be the root of my problem... and does it make any difference? Or should I just stay with what works?

3. Back to the hypomania issue. I have read about everything I could get my hands on regarding bipolar disorder and I still get stumped on what constitutes hypomania, as opposed to just an average person who sometimes makes stupid, impulsive decisions... :) I've made my share of these... and at times I am very quick, talkative, restless, etc. - but I always thought that was just my personality... Manic, I've seen. Hypomania is a bit harder for me to wrap my mind around... Now I have suffered from racing, uncontrollable thoughts and insomnia... maybe that is enough to qualify. Which leads me back to SSRI only for possible bipolar?

4. Anyone like Celexa better than Lexapro? Except for less sweating (which I do appreciate), I miss my Celexa. It made me so calm and mellow. Lexapro is touted as "better" than Celexa, but I'm not sure why that is... it can't just all be about excessive sweating can it? :)

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You are right- we can't give medical advice- but my opinion: stick with what works for you!

Its hard to know how they say one med is "better" than another- maybe because it works well for a higher percentage of people? or that they just sell more of one than another. either way these have nothing to do with how individual people react to individual meds. If its helping that is what it comes down to.

I'm not sure I understand what your question is about SSRIs and bipolar. SSRIs (as well as other ADs) are used to treat all kinds of things from depression to BP to migraines to irritable bowel. No one is limited to a particular med ( or not) based on diagnosis. the only thing is that for some people with BP there is a risk(as with most ADs) of triggering a manic episode- but that doesn't mean they can't be helpful to some people who are BP.

from my experience I really couldn't recommend one AD over another- I've been on so many different ones over the years- I am one of those who get the"prozac poop out" with just about every AD- they work for a year or two then time to move on to the next- its all so individual is my point. so again i'd say if it is helping with symptoms and your quality of life and you feel better with it than without it- i'd say its worth the expense and like i said before- i'd stick with what works for you.

( I hope this helped a little at least)

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