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Severe manic episode after taking antidepressants for the first time?

Nixence

Nixence

Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Messages
7
Location
The Moon
Hi folks, i've been wondering if this is a common occurrence and what does it mean?

Here's my experience:
During the last decade, i had a couple of undiagnosed and untreated depressive episodes, but managed to overcome them somehow by partly suffering and contemplating alone, partly by talking with my trusted mentor (clinical psychologist), among other things. But two years ago i was going through such an intense depression that i finally had to reach out and consult a psychiatrist. I was desperate, i was close to hitting rock bottom, persuasive self-harm thoughts and all, and couldn't do it on my own anymore. My doctor prescribed me an antidepressant (unfortunately can't remember the name, that entire period is a blur) without giving me an official diagnosis so that it wouldn't go down in my medical history. Three painful months later, my mood started improving, finally. Month later, i felt great. Praised the medicine. Month later, i started feeling as though i was on ecstasy the entire time and was so impressed with my progress even though i didn't sleep and eat at all and was talking, laughing and running around 24/7.

My ecstatic brain managed to realize that there's something terribly wrong with this state, especially as the psychotic symptoms showed up, and being a psychologist, i recognized the mania. Upon witnessing my insanely elevated and explosive mood, my doctor asked me to *immediately* stop taking the antidepressants and put me on Depakine (Valproate). But it was too late and the drug couldn't catch up with the speed of my full blown mania, which went on for three months. Then i came crashing down again, totally exhausted and burned up, as well as deeply traumatized by my previous behavior, and had to take antidepressants again, although this time my doctor was very careful in his choice.

I wasn't officially diagnosed, again, but he said that if he had to give me a diagnosis, it would be bipolar I. I knew that much myself. But we didn't really go deeper into it and i couldn't accept that i was bipolar just like that.

So i was wondering - was i bipolar all along and the antidepressants just triggered a psychosis that was waiting to happen anyway, or did the drugs, perhaps too strong for me then, completely threw me off balance and induced a one-time mania? I never had manic symptoms before and haven't experienced them ever since.

Am i bipolar or just had a mental breakdown that manifested as mania thanks to the antidepressant?

I am still wondering about it because i need to make sense out of what happened and know myself better, and don't really have someone to talk about it with.

Has anybody had a similar experience? Or a useful comment?
What do you think?

Thanks in advance! :*
 
Z

zusy40

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 27, 2013
Messages
73
Blimey that happened to me, took around the same time (Started Nov, April following year switched to full blown Mania Psychosis)

I was diagnosed straight away though type 1, was in hospital 3 months had to have ECT as drugs were not bringing me down.

One doc said I may have a more benign form, now been over 10 years and not relapsed, been on lithium ever since but I hope to be med free one day possibly coming off next year (discussed with pdoc)

I can't believe you were given anti d's again!

PS it was sertraline with me
 
C

Curiousk2019

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Jun 4, 2019
Messages
16
Location
Usa
Still in process of getting to an official diagnosis here as I just started going to therapy which we've been talking about bipolar nonstop. But I've been depressed since I was 14. Been on and off multiple antidepressants that never worked. Finally last October, I was so severely depressed I thought of like 20 different ways to die every single day. I waited this out until December. Finally, I was prescribed Wellbutrin. Let me tell you. Once it kicked in I felt great. So great in fact I was about to uproot my entire life for the 4th time and ruin everything in my path and kill off all relationships as I always seem to do. I decided to go to a psych office. Yesterday I told him what happened after starting my Wellbutrin and he was almost positive the antidepressants cause me to go off my rocker and self destruct my life. Apparently if you're bipolar antidepressants don't really work the same he said. It was news to me.
 
N

Nina998

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 31, 2019
Messages
128
Location
Finland
Happened to me too the first time I was prescribed antidepressant for depression at the age of 18. I think that was my first mania but oddly enough I was diagnosed with bipolar two years ago at the age of 33.

I was taking antidepressant with stabilizer and anti psychotic earlier this year when I hit hypomania. Hypomania faded away as soon as I stopped taking antidepressant. So it's real antidepressant can cause mania or hypomania.
 
D

DrZee

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Joined
May 13, 2019
Messages
6
Location
Maine
tl;dr: Same thing happened to me, only less severe.

I had a similar experience, however it was with bipolar II. I've been depressed since I was 14, and I've been on Wellbutrin for over a decade (I'm 38 now). I was really struggling so my psychiatrist added Venlafaxine (an SSNRI), which triggered a hypomanic state. I didn't even realize anything was wrong until I brought up my increased libido with my psych.

I'm not a psychiatrist so don't take this as fact, but my psychiatrist told me that some antidepressants can trigger mania in bipolar patients. I started going back through my life and could very easily identify 4 periods of my life where I'd been in a hypomanic.

I still haven't been officially diagnosed by a psychiatrist (My psych was leaving the state just as all of this was happening and it takes about 3 - 4 months to get in to see a new one, yay American healthcare system!). But I am in therapy with a PhD psychologist who is also pretty sure I've been misdiagnosed my whole life.
 
H

hopefulinny

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Joined
Oct 3, 2019
Messages
8
Location
USA
Happened to me too. Was so sensitive to meds and was on baby doses of lexapro Paxil and zoloft - and 150 Wellbutrin for 16 years. Lowered the Paxil and increased the Zoloft and WOOOSH. Instant switch. Had to withdraw off the Paxil and zoloft which have been hell. Still on the lexapro and Wellbutrin now but added Paxil. Been 9 months and still trying to get right.
 
Nixence

Nixence

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Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Messages
7
Location
The Moon
Thanks so much for your replies. All of my online research confirms the same - there are some antid's, SSRI's specifically, that can fuck you up quite well if you're bipolar and your doctor doesn't know it.

Depression is terrifyingly painful, but being manic... it's one of the worst experiences of my life. I am still unable to really talk about it - the very second my mind visualizes the memories, i get physically dizzy and my soul screams from the inside and i have to force myself to think about something else. When someone else mentions something about my behavior from those days, i get an uncontrollable urge to hide in a hole and never come out. Therefore, i'm fully committed to staying healthy and avoiding another episode.

Take care, everyone.
Love & Light <3
 
H

hopefulinny

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Joined
Oct 3, 2019
Messages
8
Location
USA
It’s amazing that years and years of drinking and drugging while taking meds never made me switch to mania - but making one change to my meds and it was instant. Hopefully working towards recovery now with lithium as part of my regimen.
 
Nixence

Nixence

Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Messages
7
Location
The Moon
It’s amazing that years and years of drinking and drugging while taking meds never made me switch to mania - but making one change to my meds and it was instant. Hopefully working towards recovery now with lithium as part of my regimen.
if i may ask, what drugs were you using? i am also guilty of mixing drugs and meds on various occasions, and was also amazed that i haven't had a weird reaction so far. tho, i think the meds i'm taking weaken the effect of certain psychoactive substances.
 
SarahD

SarahD

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Oct 21, 2014
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2,090
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I have schizoaffective disorder. At first I was diagnosed with psychotic depression. I had experienced mania over many years without realising that was what it was, and I was mostly depressed. A couple of times taking the same antidepressant as you bounced me into mania. Feels wonderful at first, as your life falls apart around you while you soar over the mess. And then land in it.
 
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hopefulinny

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Joined
Oct 3, 2019
Messages
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USA
Alcohol, coke, weed. Also shrooms once. Weed would make me insanely paranoid - like my brain would go on overdrive. First line of coke would make me a little calmer but then I just wanted more and more. Alcohol was blackout city. Coke helped with the blackouts ... until it didn’t.
 
Nixence

Nixence

Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Messages
7
Location
The Moon
I have schizoaffective disorder. At first I was diagnosed with psychotic depression. I had experienced mania over many years without realising that was what it was, and I was mostly depressed. A couple of times taking the same antidepressant as you bounced me into mania. Feels wonderful at first, as your life falls apart around you while you soar over the mess. And then land in it.
oh, i bet that wasn't fun. :(
but what an accurate description of mania. thanks for that.
 
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