Archives for November, 2010
Did you ever have a teacher you loathed but came to appreciate, respect, and even love over time? I've had a few. These were people who saw my real potential and pushed relentlessly, making it impossible to slack off and take short cuts. They brought out the best in me. Oddly enough, the same can be said of Manic Depression. For me it has been a hard, even cruel teacher; however, without it, my most important emotional and spiritual growth would never have taken place. Today I know who I am and I enjoy being myself, indeed, there is no one on earth I would rather be. I lead a balanced, fulfilling, and highly productive life. This peace of mind and sense of purpose are largely the result of my relationship with Manic Depression, which has evolved from mere survival to mastery.
Maura asks...Hi Dr. Fink. My husband of 30 years has just been diagnosed "possible Lexapro-induced hypomania/possible true BPD" After a very difficult and abusive childhood with alcoholic parents, he has been seasonally depressed as long as I have known him. Usually starting around November, and not clearing until late spring. Although fully functional, he was having somatic complaints and once, an episode of chest pain severe enough to take himself to the hospital for evaluation. Two years ago, he agreed to begin treatment with our family PMD for his depression and did EXTREMELY well mentally on Zoloft 150 mg. He stayed on Zoloft for a year but reluctantly changed to Lexapro 20 mg. qd, due to severe, unremitting heartburn with the Zoloft.
I recently read Invisible Driving by Alistair McHarg. This captivating novel is his autobiographical account of surviving his third major manic episode. As one might imagine, time passes at an accelerated rate during mania, and thus the book has an extremely fast and increasingly frenetic pace. In other words, it's a very quick read. As one who is familiar with the highs of bipolar disorder, I found it quite interesting and entertaining. Readers who haven't experienced mania up close and personal may find it difficult to believe, but speaking from experience, every phrase resonated with manic reality.
In a letter to the editor of the Journal of the American Psychiatric Association , printed November 2010, Alan Eppel, M.B., F.R.C.P.C. cites an article published in the July 2010 issue of the journal that examined the use of antidepressants in bipolar II disorder. Mr. Eppel questions the clinical significance of the results of the study and claims the study adds "more fuel to the three-decades old debate between those who advocate minimal use of antidepressants in the treatment of bipolar disorder and those who favor maximal usage." Debate continues to swirl among psychiatrists about the risks/benefits of antidepressant use in bipolar. The July article suggests people with bipolar II who take antidepressants as opposed to lithium or placebo have a longer interval before relapsing into a depressive episode.
I just finished reading Bi-Polar Expedition by Neil Walton (Chipmunka Publishing, 2007), and I must admit it was a very gripping read for me. I found it astounding that the paranoid delusions and hallucinations that Mr. Walton experienced during his manic highs so closely resembled my own imaginings. After reading other bipolar memoirs and descriptions of people's manic experiences, I guess these are recurring themes. How odd though, I think, that people from such different walks of life, education and socio-economic backgrounds, even gender (male or female) should experience the same types of far-fetched fantasies in our hyped-up minds.
The Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation (CABF) has asked us to spread the word about its campaign for votes to win the Pepsi Refresh Project and a $250,000 grant to aid families and children living with bipolar disorder and depression. CABF has been chosen to compete for the top grant in November, 2010. Winners are decided by total votes cast via Internet and text messages throughout the month. If selected by popular vote, CABF will use an innovative social media awareness effort to:
Ever wonder how to participate in one of the many bipolar research studies you often read or hear about? Well, it's about to become a whole lot easier to find out about these studies. The University of Michigan Depression Center and the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance have announced a partnership to create an information clearinghouse that will help connect individuals who have mood disorders to research opportunities.