Bipolar Disorder and Exercise
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Q:  Bipolar Disorder and Exercise

Dr. Phelps:

I would like to see more info re: exercise and bp. I exercised a lot; running, walking, bicycling, tennis, skiing etc. since young. BP I since '65;lithium '80-current. One manic episode '91/off lithium; resumed lithium and again mostly symptom-free.

Teacher '67-current; exercising continues at 56; no weight issue. CALMS AND LIFTS MY MOOD.  I feel the exercise kept me out of the hospital and also, have had very BP symptoms.  I could not be still; I would think that the BP symptoms might drive them to "move more "!  In the hospital, they would not give me an anti-depressant; I walked as much as I could daily; eventually the depression ceased.  Do you think BP people are able to exercise or are they on too many meds?

Dear Elizabeth -- 
You're right, one doesn't hear about great responses to our basic medications much.  Perhaps it's because that's not really "news" -- I see it all the time in my practice.  About 50% of folks I see, even those with quite severe symptoms, get a great response to lithium or Depakote or their low-dose combination.  The other half needs some of the newer medications, but even there we see pretty good response rates, up around 75-80% nationally -- i.e. percentage of patients who respond well eventually to some combination of things.  Thanks for your support.

Dr. Phelps

Published July, 2001


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