Can BP Meds Cause Brain Damage?
[Home] [Bipolar News] [Bipolar Disorder] [Medications] [Treatments] [Bipolar Disorder/Job/School] [Disabilities] [Ask the Doctor] [Ask David] [Self-Injury] [Personal Stories] [Graham's Column] [Steven's Column] [Storm's Column] [Columnist Archives] [Suicide] [Community Support] [Family Members] [Expressions] [Greeting Cards] [Books] [Awards] [Links & Rings] [About Us] [Contact Us]

 


Q:  Can BP Meds Cause Brain Damage?


If a person was misdiagnosed as Bipolar and was being treated as if they were, is it possible that the medications they are taking could do permanent damage to their brain. That is if they were taking meds that changing the chemistry in their brain when nothing was wrong with the chemistry to start with.  Thank you for your time.


Dear Margaret -- 
That's a very good question.  So far I'm not aware of evidence of that part of the problem.  Some mood stabilizers can decrease bone density; several can cause metabolic changes that lead to weight gain; and there are other risks.  But "permanent damage to their brains" is not high on the list of risks.  Several of these medications can muddle your head pretty badly if you don't need them:  I often see Depakote make people feel fuzzy when the diagnosis seems, e.g. in retrospect, not accurate.  

Note that if we asked this question about antidepressants, there's a bit of evidence they can make you "permanently worse" if you do indeed have bipolar disorder:  it looks like at least in some people they can induce manic symptoms and potentially worsen the life course of the illness.  

So, it's quite appropriate to be dubious and skeptical and make sure that one's symptoms are severe enough to warrant taking some risks with medications before starting anything.  There's great evidence that psychotherapy can help depression of numerous kinds, and it doesn't carry these risks.  Time, money, maybe, and the relatively rare unscrupulous therapist, but not "permanent brain damage"!  When in doubt one can take the Mood Disorders Questionnaire.  If that comes up very strongly positive, it's an indication that bipolar disorder is relatively more likely, but even that is not a sure thing.  Learning about the common symptom patterns, and watching over time if necessary looking for such symptoms recurring, is better in my view than the MDQ test.  Good luck figuring this out. 

Dr. Phelps
 


Published December, 2002 

 

Bipolar World   1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Owners: 
Allie Bloom, David Schafer, M.Ed. (Blackdog)
Partners:  John Haeckel, Judith (Duff) 
Founder:  Colleen Sullivan
 

Email Us at Bipolar World

 

About Us  Add a Link  Advance Directives  Alternative Treatments  Ask the Doctor   Ask Dr. Plyler about Bipolar Disorder   Ask The Doctor/ Topic Archives  Awards  Benny the Bipolar Puppy  Bipolar Chat  Bipolar Children  Bipolar Disorder News  Bipolar Help Contract  Bipolar World Forums  Book Reviews  Bookstore  BP & Other mental Illness   Clinical Research Trials & FDA Drug Approval   Community Support   Contact Us  The Continuum of Mania and Depression   Coping   Criteria    Criteria and Diagnosis  Criteria-World Health Disabilities,  DSMV-IV   Dual Diagnosis  eGroups  Expressions (Poetry, Inspiration, Humor, Art Gallery, Memorials  Family Members   Getting Help for a Loved One who Refuses Treatment  Greeting Cards  History of Mental Illness  Indigo  Job and School  Links  Manage Your Medications  Medications   Medication and Weight Gain    News of the Day  Parent Chat  Pay for Meds  Personal Stories  Self Help  Self Injury  Significant Others  Stigma and Mental Health Law  Storm's Column  Suicide!!!  The Suicide Wall  Table of Contents   Treatments  Treatment Compliance  US Disability  Veteran's Chat  What's New?