Q: Graves Disease & Bipolar Disorder
I have Graves Disease is there does this mean I could get this bipolar disorder?
My labs are normal but I'm anxious still and my psych has me on klonapin right now. My sister also has Bipolar but no thyroid
problems. Am I at risk or do I not have to worry about it just because I
have Graves Disease this might be all I have right? I am raging all the
time and annoying people so thats not good and my labs are normal and if my labs
are normal it must mean I'm normal. Anyway I was wondering if there was
any information on if Graves Disease and bipolar could be connected or not.
I do see an Endrocronologist and a psychatrist right now just thought you might
have some information to post on your board. My psychatrist has not
mentioned anything so maybe I just do have graves disease and nothing more which
I hope is the case.
thanks for your reply
Dear Ms. A --
Hmm, that's tricky. Let's see: you have a psychiatrist. She/he
has you taking Klonopin. She hasn't said you have bipolar disorder.
She's said you have uh, what? Anxiety and rage, and for now we'll treat it
with Klonopin. That would be okay, at least for a while. On the
other hand, even on the Klonopin you're "raging all the time and annoying
people". Okay, so your labs are normal but in terms of mood and
behavior, you are not. Have I got that right so far?
Meanwhile, your sister has bipolar disorder. And
you're worrying that you might have it; or get it; and that the thyroid issue
now might be part of that question. In fact, you're worrying that the
thyroid problem is going to increase your risk of bipolar disorder beyond the
"family history" level. In fact, you're asking whether thyroid
and bipolar disorder are possibly so closely connected that getting Graves' is
somehow part of getting bipolar disorder. I hope I've got that
Okay. First off, the connection between thyroid
and bipolar disorder is there all right, but what the connection is, remains
unknown. What's the risk of getting bipolar disorder if you have
Graves'? Don't know. What's the risk of getting bipolar disorder if
your sister has bipolar disorder. Well, we know a little there. It's
summarized for parents under the title
to Your Kids, and you can read that.
Finally, what's the risk of getting bipolar disorder if
there's a family history and then you get Graves'? That is, are you
at greater risk? Don't know.
But now we come back to things that are known.
You're "raging all the time and annoying people". In my view,
with your family history, and given that apparently your thyroid labs are now
"normal", but you aren't, I'd go ahead and strongly consider treating
those symptoms even if I didn't -- for now at least -- call it "bipolar
disorder". And I'd start with whatever your sister had done really
well on. If she hadn't done really well on anything, I'd look for
something that made sense to start with that she hadn't taken yet (e.g. if she'd
had lithium and Depakote and Zyprexa and nothing worked particularly well, I'd
think about starting with Trileptal, or vice versa, as long as there were no
other clear basis on what you personally should start with).
Now, fortunately you have a psychiatrist.
So, you could just wonder out loud with him/her about treating these symptoms,
whether or not you want to call it "bipolar disorder" now or
Finally, am I really saying "you have bipolar
disorder"? No, really, I don't intend that. The labels may be
getting in the way here, it seems. I prefer to focus on symptoms and
treatment options, not on the labels.
For example, you should probably start with all the
things someone with bipolar disorder should do, to see if that helps with your
symptoms, before you start medications: e.g. regular sleep habits;
avoid late-night light exposure; no regular alcohol; and definitely regular
exercise. Then, if you're still having symptoms, talk with your
psychiatrist about treating them more aggressively. Good luck with
Published March, 2003