Quality Mental Health Information on Specific Topics 
                                                                     Jim Phelps, M.D.            Corvallis, OR                               ( Home)

If you have mood swings...

If there are people in your family who have trouble with depression or anxiety...

If you have tried antidepressants, or psychotherapy, and not improved -- or worsened...


You might have a version of "bipolar disorder" that doesn't have full manic episodes.  This is not a mood disorder anyone would want to have.  You could have something else, like a treatment resistant depression.  You should definitely have your thyroid hormone checked. 

But as you evaluate just what kind of a mood problem you have, you should know about bipolar II.  I'm not here to sell you anything (see the Trust; About; Funding or Who is? sections to check me out).  I wrote this for my patients and anyone else who wants more information about this disorder. 

Unfortunately, if you think you might have this kind of mood problem, there is no "lab test" to be sure.  If you can't get to a psychiatrist for a diagnostic evaluation (they can prescribe the medications to which this illness responds very well), go to a good psychotherapist.  Here's how you find one.

There are lots of treatment options for complex bipolar versions now (this was not the case until recently).  Many people -- in my experience close to half of those who try treatment -- can become symptom-free, or almost so, with few or no side effects.  Another 1/3rd will get clear benefits but probably need a mood expert to get the medications "tuned" as well as possible.  The remaining people are the really hard ones that definitely need a pro'; but even they can get much better.  The key is definitely to find a provider whom you can trust and who seems to be helping you -- or at least making good sense while she or he tries!

Want more?  You're ready for the whole story then.  










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