Anxiety disorder + Bipolar — Anyone have it? What's it like?

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CluelessJournalist
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Date Joined May 2008
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   Posted 5/1/2008 11:20 AM (GMT -7)   
Hey. I'm new on these forums and recently began taking Xanax for general anxiety and occasional panic.

Here's the thing: I've always wondered if I might be bipolar. "Mild" bipolar, perhaps, but bipolar nonetheless.

I definitely have sustained periods of depression and sustained periods that seem pretty consistent with hypomania. But, since I went to my psychiatrist for help with anxiety, I don't think they've given much thought to any other possible problems. Plus, I've been pretty euphoric lately (even on a sedative like Xanax), so I can't complain about much. Why would I?

But here's my question: if anyone has both an anxiety disorder and bipolar disorder — how do the two interact for you? I imagine the anxiety could actually do a lot to keep mania under control, to some extent. At the same time, I could see someone with anxiety disorder suffring from more mixed episodes — the anxiety making people worried/agitated and more volitile.

I'd appreciate anyone's thoughts...obviously you don't need to worry about me taking anything as medical advice. I'll talk to my doctor and would never self-diagnose. Thanks!

els
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Total Posts : 4031
   Posted 5/1/2008 1:12 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi Clueless,  Welcome to Healing Well we are most happy to have you join us. 

First, I just want to say I dont have bipolar disorder but I have a close friend who does and also I have many years of working in the psychiatric field as experiance.  I also have major depression, anxiety/panic disorder and PTSD.  So, I can relate on some level.

If you saw your psych doc for anxiety then I really would think about scheduling another appointment to discuss the hypomania that you have described here.  Usually from a clinical stand point it can take months or more to obtain a Bipolar diagnosis as the psychiatrist needs to be able to track the different levels of mood.  As I am sure you know sometimes these episodes can last for weeks and or months at a time. 

It is common for someone who does have a Bipolar dx to have a generalized anxiety disorder.  Often these go hand in hand and feed off of each other.  The Xanax would help with the anxiety but it can also aggrivate depression symptoms if your not taking an antidepressant. 

It is very important that your forth right and upfront with your psychiatrist as Bipolar Disorder is difficult to treat and getting the right medication is essential for long term mental health and well being. 

I am sure you will have more members post suggestions and comments to you.  Everyone here is just wonderful and so supportive.  I do hope you continue to post.  Take care and please let us know how your doing. 


Elisha
Co~Mod: Depression
Moderator: Heart & Cardiovascular Disease
http://www.healingwell.com/donate


CluelessJournalist
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Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 5/1/2008 4:56 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks!

I do think my doctor is pretty in tune with what's going on. He knows what he's doing, but I think I need to be a little more direct about what I think is wrong. If nothing else, they'll tell me I'm a hypochondriac, that I need to stop worrying, and they'll up the Xanax dose.

Another question though. When he prescribed the Xanax, he also mentioned briefly something about a mood stabilizer prescription. I can't remember exactly what he said, but if I remember correctly, he was talking about it as something to consider as a possibility in the future.

Is "mood stabilizer" like a code word for "we're keeping an eye on you because you might be bipolar?"

serafena
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   Posted 5/1/2008 5:22 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Clueless,

Welcome to the board, hope you can find some answers here.

First off, yes, mood stabilizers are used to help regulate the swinging moods in bipolar disorder. So it shows he's at least considering the possibility. Maybe he's trying to avoid labeling you. The term has such a negative stigma, some docs avoid throwing it out there.

Next, I think the percentage of bipolar patients who also suffer from anxiety disorder is huge. That's where my journey started. For me, panic and anxiety don't interact well with either mood, and they certainly don't counteract anything. They worsen both moods (hooray!) As you said, it makes everything feel more mixed. I'm BPII so I don't get high manias, so it just adds frustration and fear to my mania and anxiety and itchiness to my depression. It's a good time. But I do think it's really really common.

serafena
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum
Bipolar II


els
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Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 4031
   Posted 5/1/2008 5:36 PM (GMT -7)   

I too find it difficult sometimes to always be direct with my psychiatrist about what may be going on with me.  For me I have this defensive mode where I feel like I need to protect some part of my thoughts or feelings no matter how bad.  Not let anyone in.  That is where I start to sabatoge my treatment and mostly when my depression and anxiety get the best of me.

If your doctor is as tuned in as you think then I dont believe he will think your a hypochondriac one bit.  He may actually be relieved that you let down a wall and trusted him enough to talk to him about these things. 

A mood stabilizer is exactly what it says a medication that stabilizes the mood swings of Bipolar.  There are also quite a few people who take mood stabilizers that dont have BP disorder.  My 30 yr old brother takes Depakote to help him balance out his moods.  He has anger issues that for some reason he can control with everyone else other than his girlfriend.  The Depakote seems to help him. 

 


Elisha
Co~Mod: Depression
Moderator: Heart & Cardiovascular Disease
http://www.healingwell.com/donate


daisha
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Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 27
   Posted 5/2/2008 9:56 AM (GMT -7)   
Serafena- i too suffer from bp2, i don't have the mania but suffer from the mixed emotions sometimes so intense that I can actually feel when the shift starts. Sometimes I can catch when the change is starting but I have triggers that sometimes happen suddenly and I cycle out of control. Today I have no desire to get out of the bed--all this week I have had the desire to stay in the bed but I have made myself get up. Today I just don't feel like it. And when I have these days I just don't want to push it. Sometimes it's good to give yourself a break.

Hope everyone is having a good day.

Daisha

CluelessJournalist
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Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 5/2/2008 3:53 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks so much guys.

I had no idea that anxiety and BP tend to happen so frequently together!

Daisha — hope you're feeling better soon. I know what you mean about giving yourself a break. For me, if I take a "mental health day" and sit around doing nothing when I'm feeling depressed, it restores me a little, and it's easier to get out of bed the next morning.

sukay
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Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 1432
   Posted 5/2/2008 4:26 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Clueless,
 
I have bipolar and suffer from anxiety as well. I take xanax for my anxiety and yes, I can tell when it is my anxiety kicking in. I do get mixed episodes. I do take 1 xanax at bedtime to help me relax until my sleep medication kicks in. I take the xanax as needed for my anxiety. It works wonders for my anxiety.
 
Welcome aboard!
~sukay~
Diagnosed Bipolar - August 2004
     Crohns disease - 1995 
Arthritis & Fibromyalgia 
 
Leo Buscaglia


saabbaby
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Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 5/3/2008 3:38 PM (GMT -7)   
Welcome clueless....this board os extremly sincere and helpful!!

im on the same boat as all of u...it all started wih anxiety/panic, and the meds made me feel really high, so now im trying a mood stabalizer, its almost a week, i cant remember....but 2day its not a good day 4 me either, ive been fighting throught this anxiety since yesterday, my dense bf triggered it> I had the best week ever not too high or low, until yesterday. I great that we all have eachother here to seek support!!!!
Thoughts Become Things


CluelessJournalist
New Member


Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 5/3/2008 9:37 PM (GMT -7)   
saabbaby — I'm wondering if the anxiety meds are triggering something in me right now! I feel like my anxiety meds aren't making me high, necessarily, but they're funking around with me a little. I feel like I felt last time I really went ... what I like to call "kooky." I'm a little down, but like...I feel like I'm about to get really "up". Last time I was "up," I was sleeping four hours a night, writing two newspaper stories a day, spending way too much money and partying like a rockstar.

I'm sure this makes no sense...oh well!

saabbaby
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 5/4/2008 8:42 AM (GMT -7)   
it does make sense, im not a doc but that sounds like your in the 'manic' phase when u goall out spending, .... maybe its the Antidepprssant, thats swiching ur moods, i know it did that to me.
Thoughts Become Things
 
 
~~~Anxiety & Panic Disorder~~~Possibly Bi-PolarII~~~
~~Effexor 75mg, Lamictal 25mg, Clonazepam .50 as needed~~~


serafena
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Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 5/4/2008 9:14 AM (GMT -7)   
Antidepressant meds can trigger manic episodes in bipolar patients and you need to talk to your doc if this is happening to you so you can get on the proper meds. Your explanation makes absolute sense -- one of the benefits of talking to other people who have been there. :-)
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum
Bipolar II


hadenough
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Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 5/5/2008 10:29 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi all,
 
New to the discussion board - and this topic caught my eye right away.  I have just been diagnosed with BP2 a few weeks back after struggling with depression and anxiety for 13 years.  The increase to my meds(celexa) led to manic episodes.  My doctor describes me as rapid cycling with mixed states.  I am currently on 40 mg celexa, 2 mg ativan and 100 mg of seroquel.  The seroquel is new for me and am still waiting for positive results.  I don't really have anyone to talk to about this because of the *dam* stereotypes out there.  You try to tell someone you are not crazy and it is not catchy.  Having anxiety with bipolar I believe makes all those different feelings heightened.  I am not sure anymore.  I just hate the idea of having to be on meds for the rest of my life.  My case is chemical and hereditary unfortunately. 
 
So, I thought coming to a discussion board may help.  Thanks hadenough!!!

quietpain
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 112
   Posted 5/5/2008 1:27 PM (GMT -7)   
I have a lot of generalized anziey. ANd I am scredof more sometimes than otheys ,. To leave the hosuse I have to take med. the Valium made me psychotic and my speech was very disorganized and and and I was hallucinatin(the doe 40 mg.) For the short term I am taking klonopin(8mg per day),but I am not ok I need a higher dose of haldoland lycia, or to add back zyprexa. Not the 80 like before , mayme low like 10

quiepain

serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 5/5/2008 6:28 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi hadenough,

Welcome to HealingWell,

I hope you can find a refuge here where you can talk about whatever you like without the stigma. That is something we can naturally all relate to. It takes some time to get used to the idea of the disorder and realizing that you'll be medicated probably for the rest of your life, but the alternative is so crummy...
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum
Bipolar II


quietpain
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 112
   Posted 5/6/2008 12:02 PM (GMT -7)   
My anxiety is kill ing me right now, it is related to ptsd today. i am weaning off benzos I was taking 40mg Vlalium and 46 of klonopin. I have to do it cold tirey so on Thursday we add a different approach. Today I took I shower and am here. I aslo had a flashhback from what I think and lost about three hour time.

quietpain

Georgie Girl
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 319
   Posted 5/12/2008 2:03 PM (GMT -7)   
I am bipolar I with severe anxiety disorder.   My dr said that anxiety is a common conditiion with bipolar disorder and the most difficult anxiety to treat.

M73
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 88
   Posted 7/4/2008 5:43 AM (GMT -7)   
I have OCD which is an anxiety disorder, panic disorder and BP2, the SSRIs that seem to treat the OCD make me so hypomanic it's not even funny. Even small doses are doing it to me.

We're working on getting me off the SSRI when my new mood stabilizer kicks in.

Klonopin is being used to stabilize until I get to that good level with the Lamictal.

For the opening poster, I definitely get agitated and I think the anxiety disorders contribute to mixed episodes. I can tell the difference between when I get the BP2 anxiety which is a feeling of complete irritation, agitation, and a harder time using CB approaches for relief.

When it is a panic issue for me (something uncomfortable for me like being in a long line or an airport) I can usually use enough calming self-talk and coping skills to get through.

I have read that benzos like xanax are ineffective as long term mood stabilizers. I think if he is mentioning mood stabilizer he may suspect a bipolar disorder. They do use certain drugs not traditionally used for panic disorder or anxiety now, not sure if mood stabilizers are in that list but I might ask him if he suspects bipolar disorder.

tyno3
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Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 1081
   Posted 7/5/2008 9:03 AM (GMT -7)   
Dear Cluelessjournalist: I was diagnosed as Depressed at age 18, Bipolar II, in early 30's. BiPolar II is distinct from BiPolar I, to the best of my opinion, formed by chat's with pdoc, to be occasional episodes of Hypomania (agitated irritability), interspersed with longer episodes of Depression. In my case, the Depression is the paramount manifestation (70%) of the time. From my personal introspection, I experience the hypomanic state as a state of intense anxiety (sweaty palms, racing heart, fearfullness, withdrawl from people and stimulation, basically a feeling of impending doom). The latter two symptoms are also symptoms of depression. The problem is, the meds used to battle depression, like Prozac, Paxil, and Sertiline, no longer work for me and in fact cause rapid cycling. The newer meds like Effexor, with the norephenephrine, cause anxiety. The anti-anxiety meds can cause rebound anxiety, and are central nervous system depressant meds, so can exacerbate depression. However, to answer your question, when not taking anti-anxiety meds, I experience the most anxiety when I am depressed but try to maintain normal functioning, literally pushing through the depression and forcing myself to get up, get out, and do whatever to maintain a sense of normalcy, if not for myself, at least for others. I suspect the mask slips, it's very difficult some days, to pretend you're OK when you're most definitely, not. This is where I experience the most anxiety. Thank-you for asking he question. It helps me to clarify my feelings when I write them down.

Georgie Girl
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 319
   Posted 7/7/2008 8:52 AM (GMT -7)   

I am bipolar I mixed with psychotic features (that was my diagnosis in Mar) when I was hospitalized.  I am now only suffering moderate anxiety but had severe severe anxiety which led to my hospitalization.   My p-doc said that anxiety is common with bipolar disorder and that it is one of the hardest anxieties to treat. 

Sorry to hear that you too suffer this awful condition. 

 


Georgie Girl

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