Do I Have A Possible Mood Disorder?

Posted: June 23, 2013 in medication
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I’ve been thinking & I thought I’d do some writing to get my thoughts out. I was thinking about my medication, quetiapine & how I believe it has made such a massive difference to me at the moment. So that led me to wonder if I actually have a mood disorder. I don’t question my bpd diagnosis cos lets face it I’m quite textbook a lot of the times. But what I wonder is if I have an accompanying mood disorder. I’m not seeking labels & more diagnosis’ & I’m not one of those who loves to have every diagnosis in the DSM but I do seriously wonder if I genuinely have a mood disorder. I have had brief thoughts in the past about the possibility of a mood disorder but have never given it a serious amount of thought. I have experienced highs & lows for many years but it’s whether these are distinct from the highs & lows that accompany bpd. What has sparked these new thoughts of having a possible mood disorder is down to the quetiapine I started a few months ago. Medication isn’t supposed to be effective for bpd alone & indeed the NICE guidelines on bpd state that medication is only supposed to be used in the short term for crisis situations as there is no evidence of its effectiveness in long term use. I’ve been medicated close to 4 years now & until I started this quetiapine, medication was all about sedation especially in hospital where I’d be pumped full of benzodiazepines & heavy sedating anti psychotics. Medication never has really had an effect on the mental side of things if I am honest. After being first hospitalised & then being medicated & seeing everyone else around me being medicated, medication just seemed to be the norm. I took it cos it was supposed to help but I knew it didn’t really have much effect, but in time it became a comfort & I couldn’t Imagine not taking it anymore. But then I started on the quetiapine, an anti psychotic like the others I’d been on but also having mood stabilising properties. I started on the quetiapine in the midst of a prolonged crisis. I was suffering low mood & intense emotions & drinking to deal with those & being triggered into repeated self harm. After a while I came around & things got better, then even more better until I got to a stage where I am in a period of exceptional stability for me & a stability I haven’t had in a very long time. It’s impossible to prove but I strongly believe that the quetiapine has played a large part in this current stability. Personality disorder is a cluster of maladaptive personality traits which can’t be targeted & rectified by medication. What I wonder is that the effectiveness of this quetiapine is due to the fact it is working on a chemical in balance which would be a mood disorder. The mood disorder I think most likely if I were to have one would be cyclothymia or perhaps bipolar II. I’ve never had a manic episode so that rules out bipolar I. I’ve had what I believe are hypomanic episodes occasionally, the longest lasting about a month in which I was constantly on the move, feeling happy & being hyperactive & behaving in a silly ways such as often dancing & singing & also at the time i was hardly getting any sleep. This was followed by a massive crash in which I experienced one of the worst periods of my life. The lows are more often than the highs, I experience periods of depression far more often & these can vary in intensity. The question is though are these highs & lows distinct from those of bpd? Are they the depression & hypomania associated with a mood disorder? I’m starting to think they are distinct from bpd mood instability due to the fact that I believe the medication has made such a difference. The highs & lows of bpd are more likely to have external triggers which medication wouldn’t help with so much while those of a mood disorder are more likely caused internally with a higher chance of medication helping. Since starting the quetiapine things have got so much better for me, I actually feel like a new person. My mood is on such an even keel, I feel happy without being too happy & I haven’t felt low in a long time. I’ve even given up alcohol for 10 weeks now. That is helping the stability but if it wasn’t for the stability in the first place I wouldn’t have managed to do it. It’s surprising how easy giving up drinking has been & that’s because I feel so much better within myself. Is that the result of quetiapine? I personally believe it is. Although a mood disorder is separate to bpd being different illnesses /disorders it does not mean they don’t have an effect on each other. The mood instability caused by a mood disorder if I were to have one, would very much be a major trigger for my more bpd symptoms. If I did have a mood disorder & that was under control by medication then I’d have a much better chance at keeping my bpd under control. It could be that a mood disorder has remained undetected & untreated for many years & that’s why I’m not making any real progress & keep hitting crisis & relapsing. But now, now I’m on a medication that is regulating my mood I seem to be doing so much better. If the mood stabilising properties of the quetiapine are really what is making all this difference I suspect that a mood disorder is quite a strong possibility.

  1. ThroughTheLookingGlass says:

    This is a rather interesting post you write and one I am inclined to agree with. A couple of years back now (jeez actually four years!) A psychiatrist started me on Quetiapine at a high dose of around 500mg, back then I was relatively stable and my mood was so much better, I did not experience the highs and lows or the instability that came with BPD. When I ceased the medication when back under the NHS, things went tits up! There is a history of Bipolar in my family but my all-so perfect NHS psychiatrist refused to consider I have this. However he did finally agree after much begging to re-start me on a high dose of Quetiapine a few weeks ago… let’s see what happens this time around! I personally feel many people with BPD perhaps have an undiagnosed mood disorder, it’s just having BPD, means more often than not professionals cannot see past their own noses to consider something else might be wrong! (Well that is my experience anyway!)

  2. Zoe says:

    I can really relate to this too, as I have suspected BPD, though I truly believe I have a mood disorder, with psychotic features. I am also on Q, though I have only been taking it for about 2 weeks so far this time around. I’m hoping it will straighten me out, in the way it has balanced you out. Fingers crossed!

  3. Brenda Still says:

    Hi, Hannah.
    I’m not too sure if you’ll get this msg but I hope you do. HAPPY 26TH BIRTHDAY!!! My name is Brenda and I live in the North East of Scotland. Although I don’t use Twitter, I’ve been following you there for a long time. I also read all your blog posts when you do any. You’re actually the only person I know who has a diagnosis of AvPD, like myself. Can I drop you a line at The Retreat? No probs at all if you’d rather I didn’t.

    Please take care of yourself. You’re so very special to all your family and friends.
    Sending love and hugs from Bonnie Scotland.

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