"Antidepressant Withdrawal Mania" Phenomenon
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Q:  "Antidepressant Withdrawal Mania" Phenomenon

Dear Dr. Phelps,

I have scanned the archives and didn't see this specific question posed.

In your book, "Why Am I Still Depressed?" you mention the phenomenon "antidepressant withdrawal mania."  However, it's unclear if this phenomenon can occur in anyone who stops taking an antidepressant suddenly, or just in people with bipolar disorder who stop taking an antidepressant suddenly.

I hope you will answer this question, since I thought it was a valuable piece of information in your very informative book.

Thank you. (Please don't include my name, as I'm currently going through a tricky diagnostic process- thanks!)

Dear Ms. Anon -- 
So far this phenomenon of "antidepressant withdrawal mania" is regarded as part of a bipolar picture. 

Of course there could be people out there who were thought to be "unipolar" -- that is, only at the one end of the Mood Spectrum, with no features or history of hypomania or mania or even other of the "soft signs" discussed in the book -- who could still exhibit this phenomenon, only later discovering they were "really bipolar" (tricky phrase, that; it just makes everyone think there really is such a thing as "really bipolar", which more and more appears to be wrong. Rather, there is only a matter of "how bipolar are you?", a matter of degree not yes or no. You've already read the book so you've already been through all this logic!)

Dr. Phelps

Published Sept 2006


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