A diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder can last a lifetime. Even if you off of medication for years and do not have a manic episode in that time period, your doctor may never change his or her diagnosis. What are doctors saying about the possibility of medication induced bipolar disorder?
What Is Bipolar Disorder?
In the most general terms, bipolar disorder may be diagnosed if you have extreme changes in mood over a short period of time. You may have a period of depression, followed by a short burst of hyper-elation (mania). This will again be followed by depression. The person is then labeled as having bipolar disorder.
What Happens When Mania only Occurs after Taking Antidepressants?
When a person has been diagnosed as having depression, he or she may be put on anti-depressants. It may take up to three weeks for the anti-depressant to work. A person may then be pushed into a state of mania, especially if larger doses of anti-depressant were required. You could say this person would have medication induced bipolar disorder.
What Is Medication Induced Bipolar Disorder?
As mentioned above, this form of bipolar disorder was caused by anti-depressants. Or was it? Many psychiatrists do not believe in medication induced bipolar disorder. In fact, at All Experts1, Ivan Goldberg, M.D., believes that episodes of mania that occur after taking anti-depressants are just uncovering a previously undiagnosed bipolar disorder.
Others believe that anti-depressants may cause a manic episode in those who are vulnerable to bipolar disorder. In those cases, the patient is prescribed a mood stabilizer along with the anti-depressant to prevent further manic episodes.
Why the Disbelief in Medication Induced Bipolar Disorder?
Many doctors rely solely on the approved diagnosis manual for psychiatric disorders. Medication-induced bipolar disorder has not been studied enough to be a proven disorder to be included in this manual.
Will Medication Induced Bipolar Be Recognized as a Condition within Itself?
There are doctors who see enough correlation between anti-depressants (and even other medications) to see a reasoning to call medication induced bipolar disorder a condition all its own.
In a question and answer on Bipolar World2, Dr. Phelps agrees with the controversy involved in medication induced bipolar disorder. But Dr. Phelps believes in Bipolar III, or medication induced bipolar disorder, if there is no subtle history of bipolar for a patient.
Dr. Phelps also warns that in cases where medication induced bipolar disorder is the more accurate diagnosis, a label of bipolar disorder should not be given to a patient. This is because a label of psychiatric diagnosis can last a lifetime, even if a person no longer needs medication and displays no other symptoms in the future.
What If I Believe I Had a Manic Episode Caused by Anti-Depressants and Have Been Labeled with Bipolar Disorder?
Unfortunately, doctors who believe in the existence of Bipolar III are still in the minority. You can try to find another doctor to do a thorough check on your previous mood experiences to see if your manic episode was truly caused by anti-depressants. Only a doctor can change a label of bipolar disorder. Just don’t be disappointed if experts agree that you have an “underlying” bipolar disorder that was previously not diagnosed. That seems to be the standard answer for now.
Hopefully, with more research, medication induced bipolar disorder will become known as a condition in itself. This will allow its placement into the statistical manual. Then doctors will have to take medication into account when diagnosing a manic episode.
1) Ivan Goldberg, M.D.; Bipolar Disorder – Medication-Induced Mania; All Experts
2) Dr. Phelps; What Is “Type Three” Case of Bipolar; Dr. Said It Is Rare; Bipolar World
Personal Experience Involved