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Is this bipolar?

G

Ginger Kitten

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Thanks for your insights. Sounds like we were right to dismiss bipolar as a diagnosis. My husband is very good at dissembling. He's like a different person with "outsiders" than he is with insiders, so he definitely has control over how he interacts with the outside world. It's just that with me, I guess he feels safe, so his defenses are down.
Hi, pumpkinc. I wouldn't dismiss the diagnosis of bipolar, particularly because you say in your first post that 'Doctors have asked in the past if he thinks he has bipolar'. I assume those doctors aren't psychiatrists, but they are medically trained, which none of us are. And I think that if more than one GP has put this idea to him tentatively, there's a chance they are seeing things in his behaviour that we have no way of knowing and which even close friends and family can miss.

My feeling is that he needs a psychiatric assessment. It may turn out that he has major depression rather than bipolar disorder, but some of the symptoms you describe could indeed be dysphoric mania - as others have explained, you don't need to feel 'high' in order to experience mania, or even hypomania (a less extreme high). Indeed, I was hospitalised almost a decade ago for mania, but I wasn't in the least bit euphoric; I had been through a traumatic relationship and was angry and agitated, but I did have a lot of excess energy - that's one thing your husband seems to lack in his moods.

After many years of having this illness, many of us become 'expert patients' through experience; that doesn't mean we can diagnose on here, and it seems to me that there is some danger of that happening. I really don't know if your husband has bipolar disorder - but a psychiatrist probably will.

With all good wishes, Ginger Kitten.
 
Wishbone

Wishbone

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Yeah I agree with that, if he hasn't yet had an assessment then the only way to find out what he has going on is to get one done. Speak to your doc about it.
 
P

pumpkinc

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Jun 7, 2021
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@Wishbone He is on Wellbutrin, a pretty high dose. It was more or less working up to last year, but with all the recent turmoil of the pandemic (jobs, kids, etc.), it doesn't seem to be holding up. Before that, he was on Prozac for 20+ years, but he did not like the numb feeling it caused (few lows, but few highs as well). The husband is a tough case because he is wary of medicines that can cause emotional numbness and sexual dysfunction, so it's hard to know what's left for choices.
 
P

pumpkinc

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Jun 7, 2021
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@Ginger Kitten Thanks for your reply, and you are absolutely right. He has been through two psychiatric evaluations. The last one posited that it could be bipolar, but he asked it more as a question, and the husband didn't think he exhibited the signs. Up to now, he has been treated for depression and intrusive thoughts.

Given the pandemic, it is SO hard to find medical professionals who are available. It's been such a struggle finding both therapists and a psychiatrist. We finally have an appt two weeks from now with the psychiatrist, but I'm not sure how good he is (reviews are so-so) and I'm trying to do some legwork so when we talk to him, our conversation can be more productive. Does that make sense?

I really appreciate everyone's input.
 
K

keith74

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Sep 14, 2020
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Canada
@Wishbone He is on Wellbutrin, a pretty high dose.
Antidepressants are risky with people with bipolar because it can potentially trigger mania/psychosis. It's usually something given as a "last resort" if other meds don't work for depression, and should always be given with something to guard against mania (like an antipsychotic).
 
Wishbone

Wishbone

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Yeah, Wellbutrin or Prozac for a sustained period without any protection from any other medications would likely have landed him in a manic episode if it was Bipolar, and probably long ago too.
 
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