Significant Number Of Young People With Undiagnosed Bipolar Disorder

img_6229This article talks about giving antidepressants to depressed people who actually have bipolar disorder. This is a very dangerous thing to do as you can push someone who has bipolar disorder into full blown mania by giving them antidepressants without a mood stabilizer. The 10% stats are for the UK, but I am sure it’s the same here in the US. In fact, I was just such a “casualty.” I went into a severe depression in the end of 1985, I was then prescribed antidepressants without any mood stabilizer, and in February of 1986, I started becoming manic, not knowing what was happening to me, I didn’t report my symptoms to my doctor. In the end of February, 1986, I started becoming full blown manic, out of touch with reality, and in the beginning of March, I was hospitalized. This was in New Orleans, LA, in Touro Infirmary. I was in the hospital for a month, finally being discharged when my psychotic (out of touch with reality) symptoms were gone. I will wonder forever what would have happened if i had not been put on just antidepressants. What if my doctor had put me on Lithium along with the antidepressants, would I then never have manifested bipolar disorder? What if… can’t live there. Must live in what is in this very moment and live as well as I can, because what ifs are a waste of time. The only thing that matters is the reality of what is happening now and we must come face to face with it and live with it with strength and equanimity. I may never know why somethings happened, and there’s no point in blame or anger… they did, and I simply have to accept that they happened and go on from here to make as good a life as I can for myself.

Around 10% of UK primary care patients prescribed antidepressants for depression or anxiety have undiagnosed bipolar disorder, a study has found.

Researchers from Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and the School of Medicine at the University of Leeds interviewed young adults from general practices in a study1 published in the British Journal of General Practice(BJGP).

Bipolar disorder often presents with depression and can be difficult to diagnose. People who have had periods of symptoms of high mood (such as increased energy and activity, increased confidence, over-talkativeness or being easily distracted) often don’t recognise these as significant and don’t tell their doctor about them.

This can lead to inappropriate treatment, such as the prescription of antidepressants without mood-stabilising medication, which might increase the risk of mood remaining unstable.

The study found that among people aged 16-40 years prescribed antidepressants for depression or anxiety, around 10% had unrecognised bipolar disorder. This was more common among younger patients and those who reported more severe episodes of depression. The study recommends that healthcare professionals should review the life histories of patients with anxiety or depression, particularly younger patients and those who are not doing well, for evidence of bipolar disorder.

Dr Tom Hughes, Consultant Psychiatrist at Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Leeds, said: “Bipolar disorder is a serious problem, with high levels of disability and the risk of suicide. When it is present in depressed patients it can easily be overlooked. Under-diagnosis and over-diagnosis of illnesses bring problems. Our General Practitioners are the greatest part of the best nationwide health service in the world. We hope this study will be of some help to them and to their patients in helping the better recognition of this important and disabling condition.”

Professor Roger Jones, Editor of the BJGP, said: “Dr Tom Hughes and his colleagues from Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust recommend that general practitioners look carefully at patients with depression and anxiety disorders, particularly younger patients and those who are not doing well with their treatment. By reviewing life histories for evidence of symptoms this could provide people with better treatment and quicker recovery.”

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