Q:  Are Sexual Impulses Result of Bipolar?


I cant control my sex impulses, I am just having one man after another, even had been cheating on my latest boyfriend, those this is because my BP situation?,canI control this craves? I am take in lithium, prozak, and mellaril, I feel better except for the sexual need. Please Help

Sincerely, Sandra

Dear Sandra --
Sexual impulses can be a manic-side symptom.  So if you're having any other manic-side symptom -- difficulty sleeping, anxiety, irritability, difficulty concentrating because thoughts are going to fast or scattered, agitation -- then you should probably start by figuring you need more mood stabilizer (at least that's how we routinely treat manic-side symptoms).  Remember that antidepressants can also cause manic-side symptoms, so it may be that eventually you'll need to taper that one off (we do this over 4 months, and you should first talk with your doctor about whether tapering off would be safe for you). 

If you have the sexual impulses even when there are no other indications of manic symptoms (and I mean really none), then you may have a separate problem for which a good therapist might be the thing you need.  For example, some people get sex and love pretty mixed up and so their longing for being cared for (usually related to a pretty messed up childhood) causes them to kind of translate every relationship with some caring into a sexual one.  

Ask your doctor about a trial of additional mood stabilizers first, though.  The way you describe your symptoms, I'd be more inclined to think that's what you might need.  

Dr. Phelps


Published March, 2001