talking about bipolar disorder

Bipolar Disorder and Pain

Marcia Purse Health Guide January 13, 2012
  • As I sit here writing, I'm in a lot of pain. The left side of my low back is throbbing. Often I can ease this pain by popping the back, but this time that hasn't worked, and neither has Advil. The next step will be to put a prescription pain patch on it.   "Depression hurts," say the Cymbalta co...

11 Comments
  • Merely Me
    Health Guide
    Jan. 17, 2012

    Hey Marcia

     

    I am so sorry to hear that you are in pain.  It is hard enough to get through the day without having to deal with physical pain too. 

     

    You probably already know this but Karen Richards from our chronic pain site has a lot of suggestions on how to cope with Fibromyalgia  (that word is so difficult for me to spell ...

    RHMLucky777

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    Hey Marcia

     

    I am so sorry to hear that you are in pain.  It is hard enough to get through the day without having to deal with physical pain too. 

     

    You probably already know this but Karen Richards from our chronic pain site has a lot of suggestions on how to cope with Fibromyalgia  (that word is so difficult for me to spell  :>))

     

    Hope you are feeling better soon.

     

    MM

     

     

  • CharlotteW.
    Jan. 30, 2012

    When I first was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, I was working as an MD with a horrendous schedule and crippling depression.  I had severe migraines nearly every day, neck pain and had all types of pain therapy from injections at trigger points to narcotic therapy.  I even had Botox injected in my scalp to try to reduce the migraines!  Nothing...

    RHMLucky777

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    When I first was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, I was working as an MD with a horrendous schedule and crippling depression.  I had severe migraines nearly every day, neck pain and had all types of pain therapy from injections at trigger points to narcotic therapy.  I even had Botox injected in my scalp to try to reduce the migraines!  Nothing helped until I was stabilized (relatively) on medication...an AD.  I am pretty sure I came very close to a dependence on narcotics...but fortunately my neurologist helped me with the pain and that problem was avoided.

    Now I am on an AD...have been since I was diagnosed, and Adderall for ADHD.  My psychiatrist specializes in treatment of bipolar disorder.  I don't think you can make a blanket statement like: no ADs, or no stimulants for patients with bipolar disorder.  The disorder manifests differently in all of us.  I have a propensity toward the depressive cycles, so an AD works well for me, as does the stimulant.  I am so grateful that my pain issues have resolved...I now get an occasional migraine that responds to NSAIDS and caffeine.  I think my migraines were psychosomatic..the stress I was under was terrifying.  It took years before the stress from that period in my life was reduced to a tolerable level.  Even now, I tolerate stress poorly.  I know, for me, stress of any kind lowers my pain threshold.

  • Tabby
    Jan. 14, 2012

    from my personal experience

    if you go to a doctor for chronic pain and they see that you also have a psychiatric illness... most tend to discount/disregard the chronic pain as a symptom of your psychiatric illness

     

    most then attempt to alleviate your supposed chronic pain (because you have that psychiatric illness, ya know?) with a anti-depressant OR...

    RHMLucky777

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    from my personal experience

    if you go to a doctor for chronic pain and they see that you also have a psychiatric illness... most tend to discount/disregard the chronic pain as a symptom of your psychiatric illness

     

    most then attempt to alleviate your supposed chronic pain (because you have that psychiatric illness, ya know?) with a anti-depressant OR they want a list of all your anti-depressants and/or any you've taken.  If you then inform them that you've taken this and that... most then ask if you've received any measure of relief while taking "this and that"?  knowing in the back of their minds that you are likely to say "no" or "a little but not enough" because once again... you have that psychiatric illness

     

    instead of trying to figure WHERE or WHAT is causing the chronic pain... it's "psychosomatic conversion" because you have... ta da... that psychiatric illness.  So you are left to your own resources, be that what they are or not, but in the end... you end up suffering not only from the psychiatric illness... but of the lack of care from the docs for the chronic pain you also suffer with...

     

    all cause you have that... ta da... psychiatric illness manifesting itself into physical ailments for which cause pain which is a symptom manifestation of a deeply rooted psychological trauma that you've yet to overcome

     

    many docs still think fibro., chronic fatigue, migraines, and seizures - for women - especially those with co-curring mental illness are all psychosomatic illnesses

     

    peace

     

    PS by the way... I had a horrendous head on collision with 2 trees in 2007 and struggle with moderate chronic pain and seizures, along with memory and concentration issues... stemming from that accident

     

    the docs?  psychosomatic conversion disorder though my injured ankle shows 85% bone on bone and I had diagnosable nerve damage.. and a closed head injury

    the docs, upon knowing of my psych illness as well... psychosomatic conversion disorder

     

    it's all in my head

    i just live with the pain, deal with the seizures as they occur, and at age 45 do not remember much of my childhood & can't figure my bills any longer (when I was so damn good at it once)

  • nurz
    Jan. 13, 2012

    I had an on the job injury and have been in chronic pain ever since the surgery L3-5 -S1.   Currently the doctor has me on Tylenol #3 and Methocarbamol.  We have tried everything and I am totally unchanged.  I need to remain stable and with this and the Bipolar it is hard, to say the least. 

     

  • Anonymous
    MzBobbiJean
    Jan. 13, 2012

    I too have Bi Polar and Chronic Pain for which my doctor seems to think is all in my head. I have been prescribed Cymbalta but with my insurance I am unable to afford the co pay & she (my doctor) doesn't know what else to prescribe. I was also in a 3 vehicle accident in 2002 in which I was the 2nd vehicle hit from behind by an 18 wheeler. I am in constant...

    RHMLucky777

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    I too have Bi Polar and Chronic Pain for which my doctor seems to think is all in my head. I have been prescribed Cymbalta but with my insurance I am unable to afford the co pay & she (my doctor) doesn't know what else to prescribe. I was also in a 3 vehicle accident in 2002 in which I was the 2nd vehicle hit from behind by an 18 wheeler. I am in constant pain and have just come to the conclusion that this is something I will have for the rest of my life. 

    • Anonymous
      William Storm
      Jun. 15, 2012

      Of course it's all in your head...that is where we feel pain, not in the body.  The body just sends signals to the brain which then says "Ouch that frickin' hurts!!" so you can be warned that something is wrong in the body.  I have scizoaffective bipolar disorder, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Fibromaylgia, sleep apnea, excessive daytime sleepiness (to...

      RHMLucky777

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      Of course it's all in your head...that is where we feel pain, not in the body.  The body just sends signals to the brain which then says "Ouch that frickin' hurts!!" so you can be warned that something is wrong in the body.  I have scizoaffective bipolar disorder, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Fibromaylgia, sleep apnea, excessive daytime sleepiness (to the point where my doctor said I have narcolepsy and has prescribed Ritalin).  There is a whole "syndrome" of diseases related to bipolar disorder and chemical imbalances in the brain.  For one thing the brain becomes more sensitive to pain, so that what one person would feel as a small ache we can feel as a horrible pain.  But testing has shown that the pain we feel is real pain, not imagined.  In fibromyalgia the nerves are sending extra pain signals to the brain.  I have had two surgeries for sleep apnea, one on my nose for devated septum and another on my throat to remove my uvula ( thought they were only going to make the uvulas smaller but they removed it altogether and the surgeon was such a hack that I ended up with PTSD after the surgery.  Then they put me on benzodiazepene medications (librium valium ativan xanax are all "benzo" drugs and should be avoided because they can eventually CAUSE anxiety and severe phobias...for a while I was afraid to take a shower, constantly thought about death and human mortality, even the thought of heaven was frightening to me)  I have finally gotten off Valium and my brain is apparently repairing the damage done to my GABA receptors, but last night I had to take 2 valium to let me sleep because I have insomnia now from the bipolar disorder.  (lithium orotate, an over the counter form of organic lithium, helps with the bipolar disorder and with the nightmares I get from the sleep apnea and is not toxic like elemental lithium prescribed for bipolar).  Right now my main torment beside trying to avoid the Valium and be able to sleep even though I have "narcolepsy" during the day is SEVERE pain just above my right hip, on the "outside"part of the hip bone, the big flaring part of the bone that looks sort of like a shoulder blade.  I have had pain there for years (I have arthritis too and had a bad lower back injury years ago)  Well anyway at the moment the hip pain is incredible when I am lying down.  I thought maybe I had a severe kidney infection (I had five of those in high school) but this is a sharper pain and not quite exactly in the right place for kidney pain.  Now the pain has spread to the right side too and the middle of my lower back is aching over the old injury spot.  I have noticed that the small rib at the bottom of the ribcage on either side in the back is so tender that I can hardly stand to touch it.  Fortunately the pain is not too bad when I am sitting up or standing so I can get some relief but trying to sleep with this is a real PAIN (ha ha???)  Just one more sleep disturbance I don't need.  I have bladder problems too and have to get up to pee about six times a night which along with the sleep apnea totally ruins my sleep patterns.  Finally I have read that many people with sleep apnea, bipolar, fibromyalgia, IBS (the whole syndrom of illnesses) have had some kind of mild brain damage during their life, either a severe illness (often in childhood) or physical trauma or a difficult birth.  I was born in 1952 and came out butt first and bent over in half.  My Mom told me they nearly had to break my arms and legs to get me out and when I did come out I was jaundiced (green skin color) had some fluid on the top of my head and one eye was pasted shut and not as fully developed as the other one).  So when I have sleep apnea, it's not just that my air passageway is obstructed but they also say that my brain may be simply "forgetting to breathe" while I am asleep due to the brain damage during childbirth.  So I am disabled, can't concentrate on work, fall asleep at work, have stinging burning pain in my feet at work.  For a while I had agitated depression which is basically like the guy with gun in the belltower kind of thinking (also known as going postal) that happened to me at work too and I had to quit because I was looking for something heavy enough to kill my boss with on the first blow (he was a nasty little jerk but that's beside the point).  I made somebody from the office drive me to the ER and have been disabled ever since but at least I was diagnosed with the bipolar condition at age 39.  Then I had a head-on collision in a car, re-injured my lower back and then the fibromyalgia kicked in.  So 20 years later at 59 years old I still have constant pain, fatigue and digestive problems.  I was able to work part time for a while to supplement my disability income but then the "narcolepsy" kicked in and I started blacking out at work.  So now I am surviving on Vicodin, Ritalin and organic lithium.  I have thryoid deficiency, had B vitamin deficiency and low testosterone.  I need to go back on the B complex pills (ran out of them) and may have vitamin D deficiency since I quit drinking milk and don't go outside very much to get any sunshine.  The heating pad seems to help the hip pain a lot but then it just comes right back again.  Big sigh.  My life pretty much sucks but I just keep on trudging along.  Sorry this is so long but I get ticked off when I hear about ignorant doctors telling their patients stupid things.  See a specialist who is familiar with chronic pain...often general practitioners don't know too much about fibromyalgia.  The rheumatologist diagnosed the fibromyalgia for me and see a medical psychiatrist to get your mood disorder officially diagnosed so you can show the reports to your medical doctor and educate him (or her) a little bit about chronic pain and mood disorders. 

  • Anonymous
    sherri
    Jan. 13, 2012

    Yes, I too, have pain and have bipolar disorder, however I have been told, and have read many times, that bipolar patients should not be prescribed antidepressants because they actually make bipolar disorder worse.  

    • Marcia Purse
      Health Guide
      Jan. 15, 2012

      The flat statement that "people with bipolar disorder should not be prescribed antidepressants" isn't true. Antidepressants may be needed during depressive episodes. The important thing is that you and your doctor monitor yourself for signs of mania or hypomania while taking an antidepressant, in case the medication needs to be adjusted, changed or stopped....

      RHMLucky777

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      The flat statement that "people with bipolar disorder should not be prescribed antidepressants" isn't true. Antidepressants may be needed during depressive episodes. The important thing is that you and your doctor monitor yourself for signs of mania or hypomania while taking an antidepressant, in case the medication needs to be adjusted, changed or stopped.

    • Anonymous
      Sherri
      Jan. 16, 2012

      What I have been told by psychiatrist, who is in Raleigh, NC, and is one of the best, is no antidepressants for bipolar disorder, period. I trust him completely as I was misdiagnosed for over 12 years by doctors in my area. ( I travel two hours one way to see my psychiatrist) He got it, and my medication, right on the FIRST try. I have been under his care since...

      RHMLucky777

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      What I have been told by psychiatrist, who is in Raleigh, NC, and is one of the best, is no antidepressants for bipolar disorder, period. I trust him completely as I was misdiagnosed for over 12 years by doctors in my area. ( I travel two hours one way to see my psychiatrist) He got it, and my medication, right on the FIRST try. I have been under his care since 1993 and I owe him my life.   

    • Tabby
      Jan. 16, 2012

      many with Bipolar cannot take ADs due to the propensity for them to, overall, kick one into mania or hypomanic episodes

       

      this is not true with ALL who have Bipolar

       

      however, many psychiatrists will not or are very hesistant to prescribe any ADs to those with Bipolar

      same with ADD/ADHD stimulant medications... many pdocs are hesistant and/or refuse...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      many with Bipolar cannot take ADs due to the propensity for them to, overall, kick one into mania or hypomanic episodes

       

      this is not true with ALL who have Bipolar

       

      however, many psychiatrists will not or are very hesistant to prescribe any ADs to those with Bipolar

      same with ADD/ADHD stimulant medications... many pdocs are hesistant and/or refuse to prescribe one with Bipolar even small dosages of those

       

      that's not to say that you may not be prescribed 1 or 2 ADs, here or there, by a doctor at some point if he or she feels it may be a good thing to give a go to

      but if so, and you choose to accept and try... have your doctor closely monitor - as well as yourself - any changes in your mood/behavior and/or thought processes

    • Sandi
      Jan. 26, 2012

      I am diagnosed with Bipolar II, depression, ADD, and restless leg syndrome (RLS) sleep disorder.  I also have mild to moderate dyslexia and convergence problems. I was prescribed Wellbutrin, Adderall, and Klonopin to start.  I had begun law school at the time and realized I had a BIG problem that I could not ignore. The demands of law school...

      RHMLucky777

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      I am diagnosed with Bipolar II, depression, ADD, and restless leg syndrome (RLS) sleep disorder.  I also have mild to moderate dyslexia and convergence problems. I was prescribed Wellbutrin, Adderall, and Klonopin to start.  I had begun law school at the time and realized I had a BIG problem that I could not ignore. The demands of law school were overwhelming for me, and I could not circumvent my learning disorder issues like I was able to do in grade school and undergrad while still maintaining my honors status.  In spite of being granted accommodations in law school that were not wholly in compliance with what my doctor recommended, I did not do well.  I was so frustrated and aggravated with trying to keep up and not receiving what I needed, that I began to have physical ailments and lost a lot of weight and sleep.  My grades suffered and I left school in May 2010 with a ridiculously high student debt.  However, I am not a quitter and I want to go back so back I can taste it, but I am afraid that I will be treated with the same disdain.  I will not go back to the former school so I need to find one that will grant me the accommodations I need so I can succeed and pass the bar exam.  I KNOW I can do this!!! I cannot help it if I do not learn as quickly as others and need more time for reading and writing assignments.  If I am given what I need, I do extremely well.  Furthermore, even though I learn at a slower pace, I remember it better later.  I do not know where to turn. I cannot find a job and living with my elderly parents now as they need my help. I noticed that my meds would either key me up to the point that I was jumping out of my skin or just not working at all and felt as though I had a weight holding me down.  I came down with a bad virus just before Christmas 2011 and was sick for a month.  I had to quit taking my meds so I decided, with my doctor's approval, to stay off the meds for a while to see how I do. My cognitive abilities are beginning to clear, but I am still struggling with the sleep problem.  I have decided to go to a sleep specialist for a med change as I must still take the Klonopin.  I am not going back to the Wellbutrin or Adderall unless I get to the point where I cannot function. Since these medications balance out chemicals in the brain, is it possible for my body to begin to produce the correct amount after taking meds for so long?  Any ideas or comments about my situation are greatly appreciated. Thanks!