Q: Anxiety, Insomnia Related to BP II? Treatment?
I scanned the archives and didn't find anything that covered exactly what I
wanted to ask, so here goes.
Is chronic, serious insomnia a problem that could be related to my bipolar II
(and more importantly, treated in some way)? I have both chronic anxiety that is absolutly paralyzing at times, and great
difficulty falling asleep and these days even staying asleep when I do.
Last week I finally ended up in psychiatric emergency due to disorientation
from lack of sleep. The doctor there was not very helpful - they simply made
me sleep for a night in the psych ward and released me in the morning with a
handful of Kolonopin.
I had always thought of my anxiety and insomnia as something seperate from
Bipolar II, which I understood as just depression and hypomania. But
have seen a few hint s on your site that they might actually be related.
I really want to know if they are, and if so, what's the treatment that has
worked for others?
Finally, I'll leave with a brief background in case it helps.
I have had a mood disorder since at least puberty. My first diagnosis was
borderline personality along with major depression. For the last five years it
has been Bipolar II. I have tried many medications, but nothing seemed to work
well. The last doctor I had put me on prozac, celexa and seroquel.
I currently do not have a psychiatrist and am having great difficulty finding
one that understands Bipolar II. By now, my illness has progressed to
the point I have great difficulty working and sometimes contemplate suicide
because its so hard to live like this.
ps - I really appreciate your site. Its been very helpful.
Dear Kim --
You're right, there's not much detail on my site about how anxiety can be a
symptom of bipolar disorder. I haven't found much on that subject in the
literature either. But I can tell you for sure that I see this all the
time amongst my patients (and I think far more often in women than in men,
almost exclusively, in fact). And similarly surely, it gets better when
I treat the mood cycling -- that's how I came to think they were related, you
see. I didn't start out to treat the anxiety, but rather the mood
symptoms, and then lo, the "anxiety" was getting better too.
And getting worse, often the only symptom really, besides sleep problems, when
I added an antidepressant (which I don't do anymore, ok hardly ever anyway, as
Quick, go to some doc' somewhere and ask for a trial
of mood stabilizers (maybe several at low dose if that's what it takes to
avoid side effects) without antidepressants. (If you're on an
antidepressant now, don't stop it, but wait until the mood stabilizers
are getting going and then gradually taper, taking as much as 4 months if
things are going a lot better). You have highly treatable
symptoms! Go to an ER if the suicidal stuff gets too bad (and there are
some nice resources on the net for that too, but stay safe!).
Published September, 2001