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is it bipolar if it's 100% seasonal?

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ok, so bipolar has been thrown about a bit for most of my psych history, but was only (and somewhat tentatively) diagnosed last winter. I don't currently take any meds, but mood stabilizers seem to be pretty ineffective for me, as do antidepressants. the only meds that have seemed very helpful are AAP's. Which is weird, since my most troublesome diagnosis is OCD, which doesn't even involve psychosis. So that's some background info, dunno if it's helpful or not.


Here's my main question: is it bipolar if it's completely predictable based on seasons, or is that Seasonal Affective Disorder, or maybe not even a disorder at all? I've been keeping an eye on my moods for quite a while, and I have noticed that I become very depressed in the middle of the winter and summer, and somewhat manic in the fall and spring. does this sound familiar to any bipolar folks? or SAD folks? or is it pretty normal and not indicative of psych problems at all?

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AAPs are used for a zillion different kinds of illnesses and symptoms. Just because you take one doesn't mean you are, ever have been, or ever will become psychotic.


Bipolar mood swings are not as predictable. While there are certainly people who are affected by the number of hours of light, a mood swing can happen pretty much whenever.


The new DSM 5, according to Dr. Wikipedia, considers it a seasonal (as in 1 season) mood disorder that goes away when the season ends, and remains in remission until the same season the next year. While I tend to have trouble in the summer, I can also have episodes at random times.


People with SAD can be BP, but most are not.


But we are unable to give you a diagnosis,anyway. We are not MDs, this is a peer support site.  You should discuss these concerns with you pdoc.

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Antipsychotics help with and are prescribed for a lot of mental conditions, including anxiety and OCD.


Spring = manic, Winter = depressed is a fairly common seasonal pattern in bipolar. It's also a fairly common up/down trend in the general population.


Few people with bipolar have totally predictable mood swings.

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Well, I don't believe there is a manic component to SAD, so it's probably not that if you have already been diagnosed with BP.


BP often follows a seasonal pattern. Maybe it's uncommon for it to be 100% seasonal, but you've only been diagnosed recently. I'm guessing this pattern has only been observed over a few years. Over the long-term your episodes will probably "break the rules" at some point.

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