Unipolar Depression? BPII?
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Q:  Unipolar Depression? BPII ?

I would like to know if Dr. Phelps thinks I have bipolar disorder. My psychiatrist (Dr. Howard Rosenbaum) just put me on Lamictal and Provigil (because I need to take long naps during the day after sleeping all night.  He just took me off 60mg of Ritalin a day because I was STILL tired.) I also take Paxil (40mg) and Wellbutrin (300Mg.)

I have recurring depression.  I have been on SEVERAL antidepressants.  I recently had a severe depression lasting 18 mos.  I was unable to work, and for part of the time very anxious, and part of the time very lethargic.  I don't think I experience any mania.  I have a lot of education and am fairly ambitious when well.   Dr. Rosenbaum has been treating me since 1997 and last Thursday suggested that I may have Bipolar II because of the "tenaciousness and recurring nature of my depression."

I oversleep A LOT - last Jan. I slept almost whole days and nights (getting up at 2pm or even 5pm).  And, when awake feeling tired and fatigued. (which sounds like bi-polar from your site).  But, honestly, I don't think I have even mild mania.  I am very reality based.

I am confused and am wondering whether it is more likely that I just have treatment resistant unipolar depression or Bipolar II?  From your website, it seems that you may decide by whether I respond to mood stabalizers.  Out of the last 9 yrs. I have had depression for 7 of the winters.  It usually starts in Oct and gets better in April.  I tried light-therapy, it didn't help.  I have been in psychotherapy for the last 3 yrs. and got sick of it and quit when I was feeling better in April.  I have gotten out of bed to exercise strenuously for an hr. and then gone back to bed.  I have tried everything you can think to get over the depression when I am in it (except ECT - but I will do that if I revisit hell).

My dad committed suicide and his brother (my uncle and his kids) all are on anti-depressants.  My uncle has had ECT.  My 2nd cousin is on anti-depressants too.  My mom did not suffer from depression.

Any help you can give would be greatly appreciate.  I am afraid I will only enjoy a few mos. out of the yr. 

Thank You.

Dear Ms. N'
Here's another perspective on the diagnosis, one I particularly like (I hope you can work your way through the jargon; it was written for psychiatrists.  Maybe Dr. Rosenbaum could "translate" sections for you if needed.  This is
Dr. Ghaemi, he's a Harvard researcher -- i.e. very well trained and known and respected.  

Ask Dr. Rosenbaum (he and I have met) what he thinks about this new information on thyroid (you could print this out for him?).  

Dr. Phelps

Published November, 2001


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