can certain female perimenopausal hormonal imbalances mimic the symptoms of bipolar? I am in my 40's, just received a dx of bipolar, but they have never tested my hormonal levels? any advice?
It strikes me as curious that you have received such a diagnosis if your symptoms have only recently begun to emerge. The usual routines would be to eliminate physical conditions (e.g thyroid problems) that can and do mimic psychological conditions before going near a psychiatric diagnosis.
The diagnosis would not normally be made unless you fulfil some fairly strict criteria over a lengthy period of time. Are you sure blood tests weren't taken say 6 months ago when you first presented with symptoms? Otherwise, if you are uncertain, ask for more tests or seek a second opinion.
Let me say that I know from personal experience, ((I'm turning 50 this fall.....oh no! ;^) )), that hormonal problems can definitely mimic psychiatric problems at times, especially manic-depressive/bi-polar symptoms. I have had bipolar disorder since at least 1986 and have also had severe PMS since about that same time period, and am perimenopausal and maybe now just starting menopause. I have had severe and numerous hormonal problems for many years and most recently in the past couple of years have realized that I most likely have some strange type of thyroid-adrenal problem, especially severe adrenal problems since about 1995 that have yet to be properly addressed and treated by the medical profession. Every time I go to a new doctor, it seems like as soon as they find out about any type of emotional problems I'm having, all they want to do is tell me it's all in my head, or to go see a psychiatrist. Hence, I have to "hide" the fact that I'm mentally ill, which is not the way it should be when a person's trying to seek reliable medical treatment for non-psych. problems...... I've been playing the "game" of medical doctors sending me back to psych., and psych. doctors sending me back to the medical doctors, (because my health situation and hormone problems are seemingly too complicated for them) for about 30 years and am very tired of it. My hormonal problems are TONS!!! worse than my psych. problems are. I hardly get manic anymore, maybe a couple of days a year, thank goodness, but still do have daily depression of some type. But I've come to learn over the years, that the majority of my problems, especially the depression, agitation, irritability, fatigue, insomnia, headaches, seem to be from messed up hormones. UNDERSTATEMENT!!!! I'm not saying the bipolar isn't there, because I know that it is. But I know that the hormonal problems are much much more severe and of more immediate concern for me personally than the psych. issues. I could literally at times probably claim the insanity defense because of the severity of some of my hormonal problems, especially PMS and severe adrenal problems. I guess my point is, don't let the doctors try to tell you it's all in your head or that "your hormones are just fine" or that you just need to go to the local psych. ward for a few days, etc., until they've done as thorough of a workup as possible. (I've been in the psych. ward a few times mainly because of PMS problems or adrenal problems which made me more emotionally unstable, and unfortunately hormones and PMS and adrenal disorders are NOT treated in the local psych. ward, even though some of the symptoms are similar to those of psych. disorders.....the local psych. ward doesn't prescribe hormones and neither does the psychiatrist........) If you're not happy with the results of your current doctors, try seeing a good naturopathic or someone who is trained at treating women's hormonal issues, whether a traditional medical doctor or naturopath. You might even need to be working with both at the same time, depending on what your symptoms are or how severe they might be. There are tons of websites that explain symptoms of thyroid and adrenal and various hormonal problems. A couple of sites I've looked at lately that I thought were helpful are:
www.stopthethyroidmadness.com, which lists thyroid and adrenal symptoms, some of which are similar to many psychiatric symptoms, including those of mania and depression and anxiety. Also: www.womentowomen.com, which I have found very helpful for explaining womens' issues relating to hormonal problems. You might also Google topics related to thyroid, iodine, adrenal fatigue, high cortisol, low estrogen, DHEA, pituitary, endocrine system, etc. I have problems in all of these areas and many of the symptoms mimic some of those of psych. disorders, including bipolar disorder, panic/anxiety, etc............. It's been my experience that the majority of practitioners in the medical profession refuse to acknowledge that people with "mental illness" or "emotional problems" might also (or instead of, in some cases) have a true medical condition that needs to be addressed, separate and unrelated to any psych. disorder. Like I've always said, "Once a mental patient, always a mental patient..." At least that's how 99% of the medical doctors I've ever seen have treated my health situations. Once you have that stigma and "mentally ill" label, it's impossible to break out of it and somehow convince the doctors to treat you like a normal human being and that regardless of any psych. problems you might be having, you're still a human being who is subject to health and medical problems just like any other "non-mentally-ill" patient who walks into the typical doctor's office. I had a concussion 2 years ago from a car accident and even in the ER they were asking me if I had problems with depression or emotional problems. I still haven't figured out what the hell depression has to do with almost losing consciousness from getting a concussion?????.....Anyway, I didn't mean to ramble on for so long. I'm new to this site and look forward to meeting new people and sharing any info. that might be helpful for anyone out there or for myself. Hope this info. was helpful for you. ;^)
Yes, thanks for the information, I am a concerned mom, my daughter is only 22 years old, she is married and has a beautiful two year old daughter. Recently, she has said that her and her husband having been having problems for a year or so and says that they have agreed to seperate, but will still be together for holidays and the babies birthdays. She says they love each other very much, but just cannot live together as husband and wife. I'm very concerned that she is the one making this drastic decision and I feel like its because of her emotional state. Last year after I lost my sister (her aunt), she went to the emergency room three times with anxiety attacks. Its a long story of how I lost my sister, but I beleive my daughter was afraid of what happened to my sister could possibly happen to her. Like I said its a long story, but they both took the same birth control pill that has been linked to my sisters death. Thank God my daughter got passed that fear and ended up with a clean bill of health, but she still battles with stress, bad cases of acne, and the majority of the time that I see her, she is very uptight, I can relate, because I used to be the same way, now that I am 41, I have learned to control my self better, and not subject others to my moods. Is it possible for my daughter to have a hormonal imbalance at 22?
You are 1000% correct in my opinion. I too just turned 50 and have always suffered with severe pms and hormonal issues. To date not one doctor has helped me. Every obgyn's answer to me was antidepressants. I then explain to them, I am not depressed, I am imbalanced and the merry go round begins. I will not take depressants as they have no hormonal value. They are also linked to cancer, memory loss, etc. Who the hell needs to go down that road when the issue is being a woman at a sensitive age where hormones are going out of wack. I say treat the real symptoms and stop being script pushers. Everything is a business with these physicians. They get kick backs from pharmaceutical companies, so there answer and income survives on giving all women the almighty antidepressant. I know many women on antidepressants and there worse than ever. They now cannot function without this drug. How sad not to be taken seriously and given proper testing. Just easier for the doctor to get you out of he/she's office with a script and go on to the next patient so their wallet can get fatter. You have not rambled. I have and I am determined to find a person who studies nothing but natural hormone remedies and hopefully find success to feel the best I can without being synthetically altered like some farm animal. Take care and thank you for your time.
First of all, thank you so much for your informative post. I have been diagnosed with bipolar as well and basically feel exactly like you do-depression fatigue, extreme mental fog, irregular menstrual cycle, aches and pains around my body, etc. I do not want to accept the fact that it is simply a chemical imbalance in my brain and that I need to be on a mood stabilizer. I feel that it much more deep than that. I went to a naturopathic doctor and she said my adrenals were shot and I was barely producing any progesterone. I am being supplemented right now with pharmacetical grade omega 3, progesterone cream, and a blend for my adrenals. I have been on them for almost 2 months and I am not sure if they are working yet. I was wondering if you knew of any really good naturopathic hormone doctors? Any help would be greatly appreciated. :) Thanks
hi wild Woman, Thank you for your post and your links. I am 23 years old have 4 kids, and have been having a lot of problems with depression, being tired 24-7, sluggish-ness there are very few days I am happy and when I am it's for a short time. I know it is not depression because I have been through 5 different anidepressions that did not help me in the least bit and I randomly start crying about stupid little things one minute and I am pissed off at myself for crying the next minute. I know I have a lot more mood swings than I am supposed to have. And please do not judge me on my age for my kids. Or try to blame any of my symptoms on them. I have had multiple doctors try to tell me I started having kids too young, when in all actuality I was 18 when I started and I have loved every minute of it. I am curious if my problems are hormonal or bi-polar. I have looked up multiple sites about bi-polaredness as well has low estrogen to see if I have either one, but they seem exactly the same. From looking at bi-polar if I was to be one of them I would be the mixed because I have all of the symptoms, but from estrogen it is the same as well. I do not know the difference, and I really do not want to go to a doctor for the simple fact that I do not want it to be an escipade like you have had your whole life. I have been like this for 11 years now, well before I have had my kids. I know this is an odd question, and not one that you may want to discuss, but if you were to have low estrogen would that not make it to where you have a hard time with arousel? Obviously I have intercouse, but it is not as pleasureable as everyone makes it out to be. I don't know. Maybe I am just crazy. I have no idea what is wrong with me and I am tired of hearing it is severe depression. If my depression was that bad I would not be able to take care of my children or even be able to laugh when I am with them. I guess my biggest question for you would be.. How have you been able to maintain everything over the years. Was it just pills or is there another way? I just want to be able to live my life and not think about what happens when I die, or why intercourse hurts so bad, or even how come I can not go out and do a lot of things other moms do with thier children because I just want to hide in a corner because I do not feel I am a good mother. I know I am a good mom, but I do not feel as though I am. If you could help me, anything would be great.
I was 24 years old in 1994 when i was diagnosed with being bi-polar. I am complex, so I'm told, in that I can stay manic or depressed for an hour, day, week and even a year. I also cycle rapidly sometimes which is real fun! I am also diagnosed with ADD and I suffer from a generalized anxiety disorder. I had been seeing the same doctor for 16 years so we knew each other pretty well. In March 2010 I was taking 5 different medications, including 2 antidepressants, and all this medication brought about high blood pressure .I told him about this and we tried to figure out which one was the problem, no luck and since I was still having problems he prescribed lithium. The lithium and the blood pressure medicine should not have been mixed. The lithium became concentrated, the level was over 4 and it shut my kidneys down (I have clogged kidneys from the lithium). I spent 5 days in the hospital and 2 times on dialysis. I was a wreck. I got a new doctor who only believed in old medicines and put me on Paxil only. All I did was eat and sleep. I went from 135 pounds to over 200 pounds. I had never had a weight problem so in October 2011 I changed doctors again. My new doctor had me on the right tract (took me down to 10 mg of Paxil) in no time, with 20 mg of saphris, 200 mg of lamictal and .25 mg of xanax 3 times a day, and I was showing improvement but in April 2012 he moved from South Carolina to Florida. So I started seeing his associate a lady doctor, my first. She's brand new...just out of school. I thought I would give her a try, I had never seen a female psych. So I tried her and I think I made her life difficult. I wanted to take a different antidepressant. I wasn't moving and was not reading, writing, painting, drawing, sewing, painting my nails, doing my hair or even putting on makeup. Get the picture. I have taken wellbutrin, prozac, paxil, effexor, pristique and cymbalta and they have always improved my moods with some side effects of course. So we played pick your poison and it was a disaster! My favorite is wellbutrin and it made me mean. I tried effexor and my moods got very dark and scary and I slept 14 hours at night and naps. Cymbalta made me cry more and none of this is helping my anxiety. So I went back and told her to just put me back on paxil. I'll be overweight (I'm 160 pounds now) but by golly I'll be happy. Three weeks ago she started me on 20mg of paxil and 4 days ago she doubled it. she also increased my xanax to .50 mg 3 times a day. My nails are painted and are making a nice clicking sound on the keyboard of the new computer my husband gave me for my birthday that I really haven't played on except e-bay.....always e-bay!
Now that you know kinda where I'm coming from I have been seeing comercials for hormone replacement therapy (I'm 45 now) and I remembered that the birthcontrol pill I take is to help with my mood. 1+1=google it!!!!!! This is how I found your letter and even though I have said alot I just want to tell you I am so sorry you have had such a hard time. But just to let you know that BECAUSE of your letter I WILL contact my doctor and have my levels or what ever they are checked and I WILL not stop until I find my answers. I wish I could wave my magic wand over you and make you better, but as you know these wands tend to get lost in the black hole of depression. Thanks you so much for your letter it made gave me hope. Sincerely, Sandra
I FIND THIS TO BE THE SAME QUESTION THAT I HAVE CONCERNING A FRIEND OF MINE THAT IS IN THE PSYCH WARD. THEY WANT TO GIVE HER SHOCK TREATMENT THAT I HAVE DETERMINE TO BE ON THE BARBARIC SIDE WITHOUT LONG TERM RESULTS.
IT SEEMS TO ME THAT THERE HAS TO BE MORE TO THE IMBALANCE OF CHEMISTRY IN THE BRAIN BESIDES NEEDING ANTIPSYCHOTIC DRUGS. WHAT ELSE IN THE BODY IS DEFICIENT THAT IS CAUSING THE INABILITY OF THE BODY TO PRODUCE THE NECESSARY BALANCE. WHAT ISN'T THE BODY GETTING IN ORDER TO PRODUCE THE PROPER BALANCE?
I AM LOOKING INTO HOMEOPATHIC INFORMATION REGARDING CELL SALTS. THERE WAS A DR. SCHUSSLER FROM GERMANY IN THE LATE 1800'S THAT DID RESEARCH ON THIS TOPIC. I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF ANYONE HAS CONTINUED HIS RESEARCH AND IF SO WHAT KIND OF UPDATED RESULTS ARE AVAILABLE.