Hope?

Q: I WAS DIAGNOSED BIPOLAR(RAPID CYCLER)ABOUT 9 MONTHS AGO.I AM CURRENTLY TAKING 375MGS DEPAKOTE,2400MGS NEURONTIN,.20XANAX,30MGS CELEXA.AND100MGS TRAZODONE.I HAVE BEEN WORKING SPORADICALLY AND VERY POORLY IN THE LAST 8 MONTHS.I COULD NOT CONCENTRATE BEFORE MY DIAGNOSIS AND STILL CANNOT.I BECOME AGITATED AND ANGRY AT THE MOST MINOR THINGS.I COME HOME AND JUST LAY ON THE SOFA MOST OF THE TIME.I HAVE DISASOCIATED MYSELF FROM ALL MY FRIEND AND RARELY ANSWER MY PHONE.I AM BEING TREATED BY A PSCHIATRIST WHOM I TRUST. MY QUESTION IS WHAT IS THE PROGNOSIS OF BIPOLAR AND IS IT INEVITABLY DISABILING.INCIDENTALLY I AM A47 YR OLD MALE,MARRIED WITH 2 SONS ,AND I WAS NEVER TREATED FOR ANY TYPE OF DEPRESSION IN THE PAST.THIS WAS ALL BROUGHT ON BY A STRESS RELATED HOSPITAL STAY THAT RESULTED FROM CHEST PAINS .THANK YOU

Dear Rick --
Two thoughts for you:

1.  Your current treatment is not standard for bipolar disorder, so until you have been tried on the basics, don't give up.  In your case, you've got a long way to go to exhaust your options.  Take a look at my website about bipolar II, and read the treatment sections.  If your diagnosis is correct, the general idea would be that you should try more mood stabilizers and less antidepressants (Neurontin can act like an antidepressant much more than a mood stabilizer, so actually may work against you even while it is helping decrease anxiety and improve sleep). 

2.  See the new page on my site entitled "hope".  It will give you an idea of what some people have gone through and then finally improved. 

Dr. Phelps


Published January, 2001