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Physical Cause for Bipolar Depression

Posted May 21 2009 11:37pm

Hey, y’all –

Well, well, well, well, well!  Wait till you hear this news!  You know how I’ve been telling you how my moods have been so up and down (more down than up) lately?

It turns out there is a physical cause for them called hypothyroidism!  Which is a fancy way of saying that I have low thyroid, or problems with my thyroid gland not working properly.

When this happens, my doctor explained to me, the symptoms can mimic those of a bipolar depressive episode — depression, fatigue, weight gain, problems sleeping, etc.

And here I thought everything was in my head!

Well, let me start over, and tell you why it’s so important to have a team of professionals who all work together (for your good), and also how important it is to be a part of your own treatment plan.

I keep a daily mood chart, which helps me notice patterns in my moods.  That’s how I knew about the ups and downs I was telling you about.  I had noted several days of depression in a row, which was unusual for me — more depressed days than I was comfortable with.  So I called my psychiatrist.

I spoke with my psychiatrist’s nurse, and we went over my medications, specifically the mood stabilizing ones.  We went over each one, with the dosages as well.  We went over my symptoms, and compared with the medications and their dosages, realized that I shouldn’t be having those symptoms.

She asked me if there was anything else in my life that could be causing those symptoms, and I said no.  See, sometimes there can be something situational, or something temporarily happening, that can cause a depression.  But there was nothing like that happening to me.

Then she asked me how I was feeling physically, and I told her.  And every symptom hit low thyroid like hitting the nail right on the head!  She asked me if my doctor had ever talked to me about having it, and I told her that, as a matter of fact, she had, and that at one point I had been on medication for it, but that I’m not on it now, because I had been doing better.

Well, she told me to call my regular doctor and to talk to her about my symptoms, and to ask her if she thought it could be the low thyroid and, lo and behold…

My depression was not caused by my bipolar disorder at all, but by my low thyroid condition!  So now I’m back on that medication, and feeling better.

But the moral of the story is…

1.  You need to watch for patterns and changes in your bipolar disorder.

2.  You need to be a part of your own treatment.

3.  Your professionals need to work together for your best care.

4.  You need to listen to your professionals.

Instead of ending up in the institution on some new medication for bipolar disorder that I didn’t need to be on, my doctors worked together to find out that the cause of my depression was actually something physical that was easily remedied. 

But here’s the key — first I had to notice the pattern in my moods (depression) and honestly report it to my doctors.  If I hadn’t been honest, if I hadn’t called my doctors, I very well would have ended up in a bipolar depressive episode.

Wishing you peace and stability,

Remember God loves you and so do I,


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