Sexual Dysfunction and Bipolar Disorder
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Q:  Sexual Dysfunction and Bipolar Disorder


Hi Dr. Phelps,

My question is concerning sexual dysfunction relating to this illness.  I just spent the last year and a half with no interest in sex whatsoever.  Three weeks ago out of the blue, the exact opposite starts to happen, and now I can stop thinking about sex.  It is like my life is a series of cycles
where I'm either not interested, or constantly thinking about or having sex. Does this sound familar to you in regards to other stories you've heard from people with bipolar disorder?


Chris
Dear Chris --
I've not it heard put just that way, probably because it would take some guts to say it as you have -- i.e. I'll bet it's not because nobody else has experienced this whom I've seen.  I do hear people talk about increases and decreases (including to zero) in sexual interest (just not as the only symptom, if that's how it works for you).  I guess I'd start by asking if that was the only symptom you see "cycling", and if there's anything else that does, then the entire "cycling" package is the target for treatment -- in which case the sexual changes you experience would be expected to stop "cycling" just as that's the goal for the whole set of symptoms.  And the hope would be that when you weren't cycling, your interest would be "average", like other folks: there, not zero, but not a preoccupation either. 

Dr. Phelps


Published July, 2001 
 

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