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Old 05-21-13, 11:07 PM
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Untreated ADHD due to bipolar complications - anyone else?

I was wondering if I'm the only person here who is totally untreated for ADHD because of bipolar disorder causing too many issues with the medication used to treat ADHD?

I can't take stimulants (they make me manic) or long-term drugs like Strattera (they also make me manic), so I don't take anything for ADHD. It sucks because Ritalin was really helpful before it flipped the switch (I had a few days of normal before things blew up) but taking even a very low dose just isn't an option for me. I can't take anything that even remotely resembles an antidepressant, even with my mood stabilizer, so Strattera and Wellbutrin are both out.

Is there anyone else in this boat with me? Have you been able to take anything, like a supplement or other medication, that has helped with the ADHD symptoms? Or do you just have to tough it out?
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Old 05-22-13, 12:26 AM
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Re: Untreated ADHD due to bipolar complications - anyone else?

How long did your mania last when you took Ritalin? I'm not sure if it makes me manic. I get heightened moods but it's short. Maybe an hour. A hour tops. So I'm not sure if it's as serious as 'flipping a switch.'

If I do have bipolar I'm probably in the opposite situation. Can deal with ADHD but have these mood problems that are left untreated.
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Old 05-22-13, 01:29 AM
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Re: Untreated ADHD due to bipolar complications - anyone else?

I don't have an ADHD diagnosis, but I was able to convince my pdoc to put me on a trial run of Ritalin, the only stim. we have here. It made me manic as a hatter at a ridiculously low dose [5mg IR tid]. It also aggravated my GAD and made me an anxious wreck.

Thankfully Wellbutrin works for me. I can take antidepressants {300 mg Wellbutrin + 40 mg Celexa} with infrequent risk of mania so long as I maintain a dose 900 mg Depakote {300 x3} and 2-3 mg Klonopin {1 x 2-3} a day.
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Old 05-22-13, 01:34 AM
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Re: Untreated ADHD due to bipolar complications - anyone else?

PS. I don't have psychotic features innately, but developed mild, occasional paranoid delusions on Wellbutrin.

I took Risperdal for it for a while but had to stop due to side effects. I have no desire to repeat my Risperdal experience, and I've been generally able to keep my paranoia in check.
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Old 05-22-13, 07:01 AM
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Re: Untreated ADHD due to bipolar complications - anyone else?

I'm not sure if I have ADHD, probably I don't. I've got all the symptoms though and well, they are not being treated. I've found an improvement in my ADHD like symptoms since I've started taking lamotrigine. (Though it might help just me if my ADHD like symptoms are actually caused by being bipolar/depressed)

Stress also makes the symptoms a million times worse, though I know that it's not easy to avoid stress.

Many people highly ecommend omega 3 supplements.

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Old 05-22-13, 09:36 AM
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Re: Untreated ADHD due to bipolar complications - anyone else?

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Originally Posted by fracturedstory View Post
How long did your mania last when you took Ritalin? I'm not sure if it makes me manic. I get heightened moods but it's short. Maybe an hour. A hour tops. So I'm not sure if it's as serious as 'flipping a switch.'

If I do have bipolar I'm probably in the opposite situation. Can deal with ADHD but have these mood problems that are left untreated.

I hear this a lot

Brief heightened moods from stimulants

The thing is they are mood enhancing drugs. So how do people know the difference between a mood enhancing drug enhancing your mood

Or mania

It's like if I said smoking weed brings out my underlying binge eating disorder

???
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Old 05-22-13, 12:20 PM
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Re: Untreated ADHD due to bipolar complications - anyone else?

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Originally Posted by fracturedstory View Post
How long did your mania last when you took Ritalin? I'm not sure if it makes me manic. I get heightened moods but it's short. Maybe an hour. A hour tops. So I'm not sure if it's as serious as 'flipping a switch.'

If I do have bipolar I'm probably in the opposite situation. Can deal with ADHD but have these mood problems that are left untreated.
My manic episode lasted around 3 weeks, not quite a month. It ended up winding down on its own and I started taking my mood stabilizers again which pretty much dampened the rest of it. (Part of the problem was that in the beginning of the manic episode I thought, "Oh well, I feel so great, I don't need the mood stabilizers anymore!" That just made things 100x worse.)

The reaction you're having I think is a fairly normal reaction to a stimulant for someone who is perhaps hypersensitive to the medication, given that it only lasts for < an hour.
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Old 05-22-13, 12:26 PM
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Re: Untreated ADHD due to bipolar complications - anyone else?

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Originally Posted by Abi View Post
I don't have an ADHD diagnosis, but I was able to convince my pdoc to put me on a trial run of Ritalin, the only stim. we have here. It made me manic as a hatter at a ridiculously low dose [5mg IR tid]. It also aggravated my GAD and made me an anxious wreck.

Thankfully Wellbutrin works for me. I can take antidepressants {300 mg Wellbutrin + 40 mg Celexa} with infrequent risk of mania so long as I maintain a dose 900 mg Depakote {300 x3} and 2-3 mg Klonopin {1 x 2-3} a day.
Same thing happened to me - 5 mg IR in the morning, once a day for only about a week, and I was flying high for the next month. But it actually decreased my anxiety significantly. I don't think the anxiety decrease was related to mania, because I felt the anxiety decrease right away, before the mania set in around day 4-5. I liked how it made me feel before I became manic (then I REALLY liked how it made me feel).

I am prone to psychosis in really profound mood states (depressive, manic, or mixed) but I haven't had an issue with it in a while. As long as I stay on my meds and respond appropriately before breakthrough mood episodes get out of hand, they usually don't get bad enough that I lose touch with reality anymore.
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Old 05-22-13, 01:39 PM
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Re: Untreated ADHD due to bipolar complications - anyone else?

I don't have a BP dx, but I do have a highly emotional form of ADHD, and even though my doc tells me that stimulant induced mania is not the same as mania, sometimes I wonder if I am on the "BP spectrum". I have a cousin with severe Bipolar so...

Anyway, amphetamines and ritalin both make me manic, sometimes when they're active, sometimes when they wear off. When they're active I can get loopy- time expands, or my emotional landscape increases twenty fold. Things like driving past a car accident will bring me to tears. When they wear off my thoughts can become incredibly intense - like my brain is starting to explode. The volume gets really loud and I can't control it and I feel like I want to hit myself in the head with a frying pan to make it stop.

Amphetamines were clearly making me insane after a couple weeks. The emotional weirdness started sticking whether I was on the drugs or not. I was talking out loud to myself constantly as well.

I also didn't have any true understanding of depression prior to stimulants. I think I had experienced it before, but didn't really realize what was going on. Stimulants amplify the feeling- "Oh THIS is depression, isn't it?"

I've never tried a mood stabilizer or an SSRI, not do I want to. The one day I tried wellbutrin was possibly the worst feeling I have ever known.

I don't really know what to do because I think it's a really bad idea for me to be on stimulants, but I know I won't be able to get through school without them, and I don't want to take anything in addition to them, as I like how my brain feels most of the time.

I have discovered that focalin messes with me the least. I think it is the levo part of ritalin that really screws with me emotionally. Ritalin triggers a MASSIVE depression once I've been on it a while. Focalin has been okay. I do notice my mood slump sometimes, but I can manage it. I do get the "OMG MY BRAN IS EXPLODING!" feeling sometime, but I know that it will go away in a couple hours or if I take another pill, so I bear through it.

I think it is the levo part of ritalin that really messes with your emotions. It's the part that is supposed to have "anti-depressant" qualities, so I think that's what I'm reacting to. Focalin is just the dextro part, and it does feel like "ritalin, minus emotional manipulation" It might be worth a shot, on a super low dose (2.5 mgs or less) if you're willing to take the risk. So far I'm managing fine, and I've been on it off and on for months. I don't like taking it daily, and I have this strong feeling that I shouldn't try.

Other than that meditation has been really helpful. If you try it though be careful, as when you're a crazy person it can take you to some crazy places. On the whole meditation has been a very positive experience, and I do think it makes me less forgetful and more attentive. I don't misplace my keys anymore! But it can be uncomfortable at times, it will open you up to some things that you wish it hadn't.

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Old 05-22-13, 02:01 PM
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Re: Untreated ADHD due to bipolar complications - anyone else?

Sorry that post was so rambling.

Have you tried meditation at all Keliza? I think if I really stick with it (like devoting 40 minutes a day to it) I will be able to succeed academically without stimulants. Maybe. I think there has been a noticeable improvement in my ability to focus, but it's hard to say because you don't get instant confirmation like you do with a pill.

It's supposed to help with bipolar symptoms too.
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Old 05-22-13, 08:31 PM
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Re: Untreated ADHD due to bipolar complications - anyone else?

Thanks for the info ana! I've tried meditation, I'm extremely bad at it. I have racing thoughts from bipolar disorder + racing thoughts from ADHD + probably a brain that just races anyway because it's thinking about so much all the time. Getting those thoughts to slow down and clear enough to meditate is impossible. Plus I can't sit still long enough to meditate, I get crawly and want to be up and moving around.

The closest thing to "meditation" that I've ever gotten is hiking through the woods, or taking long walks around the edge of the lake. Something that lets me just walk for a long time in a quiet, natural place. It's not meditation in the sense of clearing my mind, but meditation in the sense of letting my mind just completely unravel. I watch the thoughts speed through my head without making any attempt to control or stop them. It's almost relaxing, not because my brain slows down at all, but because I'm not putting in the massive effort it usually takes to even attempt to corral my thoughts. I'm just existing, just letting them be, without trying to stop or control them. They just are.

So that is kind of nice, to let my brain intentionally derail and do whatever it wants to do for a while. But it hasn't helped my focus at all when I have to go back to directing my thought processes again.
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Old 05-22-13, 11:05 PM
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Re: Untreated ADHD due to bipolar complications - anyone else?

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Thanks for the info ana! I've tried meditation, I'm extremely bad at it. I have racing thoughts from bipolar disorder + racing thoughts from ADHD + probably a brain that just races anyway because it's thinking about so much all the time. Getting those thoughts to slow down and clear enough to meditate is impossible. Plus I can't sit still long enough to meditate, I get crawly and want to be up and moving around.

The closest thing to "meditation" that I've ever gotten is hiking through the woods, or taking long walks around the edge of the lake. Something that lets me just walk for a long time in a quiet, natural place. It's not meditation in the sense of clearing my mind, but meditation in the sense of letting my mind just completely unravel. I watch the thoughts speed through my head without making any attempt to control or stop them. It's almost relaxing, not because my brain slows down at all, but because I'm not putting in the massive effort it usually takes to even attempt to corral my thoughts. I'm just existing, just letting them be, without trying to stop or control them. They just are.

So that is kind of nice, to let my brain intentionally derail and do whatever it wants to do for a while. But it hasn't helped my focus at all when I have to go back to directing my thought processes again.
You would have to do a formal training program, especially since you have BP because it could mess you up if you don't have some sort of guidance if you get taken to the "bad place" (I went there, it's... weird. Meditation is not always pleasant, nor is it supposed to be.)

Anyway, you aren't going to clear your mind, that's not the aim. That it's even possible for beginners is a misnomer. That might happen eventually, but not for a long while, and one never "intends" to clear the mind. My mind often goes nuts when I meditate, but it's getting better- becoming less unpleasant. Still, there are times when it's very unpleasant. I always benefit though.

I did a formal training program that was a blend of vipassana and zen techniques, and that helped a lot. Vipassana I think is really good for people with active minds because you do things while you meditate- bring up emotions etc. There's actually a meditation where you do something similar to what you describe- you actively observe the thoughts. But it's a little different.

I dunno, I think if I can do it anyone can do it. Trust me, my mind is not clear, it never is. But I still get a lot of benefit. What you are really doing is building up distance between you and what you observe, you become less likely to react to things impulsively.

It's like weight training- it's really hard and unpleasant at first. It's never fun, I never want to do it. But you can train your brain like you train a muscle, over time it becomes easier, and you start to see that your brain is "stronger". Nothing happens overnight.

When people talk about meditation they go about it all wrong. It's like they say "Oh I can't lift weights because the first time I went to the gym I tried to bench press 300 lbs and I couldn't do it." Well of course you couldn't. But you could have lifted 20, right? Everyone has to start somewhere, meditation is the same way. I do think it's harder for us than people with quieter brains, but oh well. There are people who naturally have more muscle than me too. We just have more benefit to gain.

It's helped me amazingly, on so many levels. But I still struggle to force myself to do it, cause, you know, boring.
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Old 05-22-13, 11:21 PM
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Re: Untreated ADHD due to bipolar complications - anyone else?

To put it another way, if you already had a clear mind when you meditated, you wouldn't need to meditate.

You also wouldn't be on this forum, and you wouldn't have BP or ADHD or mood issues. There is a ton of research out there that shows meditation helps with all three of those things. Google ADHD or BP and mediation and have a look. I really think if you can't do meds, it's pretty much your only option.

I think in your case with a guided training program (like joining a research study) you'd make a lot of progress. On your own it would be more difficult.
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Old 05-23-13, 02:20 AM
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Re: Untreated ADHD due to bipolar complications - anyone else?

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveddd View Post
I hear this a lot

Brief heightened moods from stimulants

The thing is they are mood enhancing drugs. So how do people know the difference between a mood enhancing drug enhancing your mood

Or mania

It's like if I said smoking weed brings out my underlying binge eating disorder

???
Wow. Thanks for such a sensitive reply.

I become psychotic after smoking weed and now can hardly stand the smell of it. We're talking migraines, stomach cramps, seizures. Let's all take a moment and laugh at that.

Now that I'm done with partially losing control I will say it's not just a heightened mood and it doesn't just happen on stimulants. It happens through a lot of physical movement too.

I was diagnosed ADHD-PI yet most of the time I'm hyperactive.
Explain that one.

I guess I'm just a little bit concerned about staying on medication with already existing mood disorder symptoms and what that could possibly turn into.

This is what happens when the DSM says 'I'm sorry, but you don't fit the criteria and you don't fit any criteria so we'll leave you on the side of the road, in the rain and dark and cold.'

Thanks science.

I'm not diagnosed. There's no indication from my doctor that I will be diagnosed. I'm confused about what is going on with me and just how bad it's going to get.

My sister, diagnosed bipolar, has manic episodes but they've not lasted longer than a couple of hours. By the next morning it's all over. She seems mostly dysphoric than euphoric.

I suppose I should be thankful I don't have long episodes but I can't even be sure if I'm having them. I can't even chart a week properly let alone a couple of months.
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Old 05-23-13, 05:52 AM
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Re: Untreated ADHD due to bipolar complications - anyone else?

i wasnt trying trying to be insensitive, and i wasnt joking

mood enhancement is an effect of stimulants, they are speed

i was curios how people can tell if they are "manic" or high on speed, from being sensitive to meds

sorry the comparison offended you, it was all i could think of at the time
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