Numbness/Paralysis & Bipolar
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Q:  Numbness/Paralysis & Bipolar

Hi Dr. Phelps,
I have been refered by my neurologist to a psychitrist for evalutation for bipolar or depression.  The initial diagnosis for my episodes of paralysis was migraine headaches.  When I didn't respond to a regimin of Depakote and Elavil, the neurologist decided I needed psychiatric evalutation.  I have been reading through the stories on the web page and don't really relate to them.  I always have projects going.  And I think I have PMS.  The Dr. thinks my paralysis is a function of my depression, which frankly I don't think I have.  What is your experience with numbness/paralysis and bipolar?

Dear Pamela -- 
Haven't seen that connection at all.  You could have both, but to attribute numbness/paralysis to bipolar would be somewhere between very unusual and wrong.  If there's a psych diagnosis to be invoked for numbness and paralysis, that would usually be "conversion disorder", which they might think you have in addition to bipolar disorder.  Now I'm not a neurologist, so I wouldn't presume to say what your numbness/paralysis is, and it may not help too much to have all the doc's saying different things.  

On that score, it is common to proceed with treatments even if we can't figure out exactly what diagnosis best explains things.  We call this "proceeding empirically" to feel better about it.  Sounds like you might be there. 

Dr. Phelps

Published May, 2002 



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