Social Anxiety & Bipolar
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Q:  Social Anxiety & Bipolar

Hi I've recently been prescribed Depakote.  I am sleeping better than I ever have in my entire life and my heart palpitations are gone.  One weird thing I've noticed is that I'm not so shy around people.  How can an anti manic help with social anxiety or is social anxeity another manifestation of mania? I don't have class mania: spending sprees, speeding tickets, etc.  But I do get extremly anxious and sometimes silly.  I never thought of shyness as being manic but I suppose it could be if it is a result of anxiety and suspicous thoughts.

One other question: does Depakote make everyone fat? I haven't noticed any changes in my appetite, but it certainly sounds like it turns people into blimps.

Dear Formerly Anxious -- 

This is a great result.  It doesn't happen often.  Social phobia and bipolar disorder travel together so often, I'm pretty convinced that some people are getting the social anxiety symptoms because of their bipolar disorder.  Occasionally it does seem to get better, as the bipolar disorder gets better.  

One thing for sure: I've seen many people who were socially phobic in their depressed phase who were not at all so in the manic phase, and when they were stabilized roughly in the middle, with no mood cycling, they were better than when depressed (but usually with some pretty significant remaining "shyness" features).  

And as far as the weight gain goes, in the vast majority of folks, it doesn't happen if their appetite is normal (I've heard from one person who was gaining on a low dose with normal appetite).  

Dr. Phelps


Published May, 2002 


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