I have come to a point in my diagnosis where I am rapid cycling. My pdoc seems to be OK with it because she said it’s not harmful. It isn’t, but it drives me crazy. One day I wake up on a high and the next day or even hours later I can crash. Or I crash one day and the next higher than a kite.
If you have experienced this, how did your pdoc deal with it? Did she adjust meds or just let it go? She’s an awesome Dr. and this is the first of my rapid cycling ever.
If you experienced rapid cycling how did your P-Doc handle it?
I’m glad you asked this question because in the process of answering it I’ll be able to provide more insight and education on this particular subtype of Bipolar Disorder.
Rapid cycling can often be complex and problematic for the patient as well as the psychiatric care provider. To complicate things even further another form of rapid cycling has been identified and recognized by the Psychiatric Community, ultra/ultra-ultra rapid cycling. (*Just knows reader is conjuring up images of all these bipolar folks riding on bicycles equipped with nitrous oxide*)
Rapid cycling is defined as having 4 or more episodes of major depression, mania, hypomania or mixed episodes required to have occurred in a 12-month period. Ultra/ultra-ultra rapid cycling is defined by distinct shifts in mood over a 24 to 48 hour period.
Some facts about rapid cycling;
- It is more resistant to treatment
- It is seen more frequently in women
- It occurs in 10 – 20% of people who have Bipolar DO
- Women comprise 70 – 90% of rapid cyclers
- Lithium is not an effective treatment
- It was identified as a subtype of Bipolar DO just shortly after Lithium was introduced
- MAOI’s & tricyclic antidepressants are not effective treatments
I am a rapid/ultra rapid cycler. It can be extremely difficult to deal with and handle. Sometimes I can see and feel the signs of a rapid mood change. When this happens I’m much better prepared to deal with it. Most times however, my mood changes just appear out of nowhere and I’m pretty much blindsided.
The ultra rapid mood changes are the absolute WORST! My poor mind and I get so confused. One minute things are fine…not perfect…but ok. Then WHAP! Out of nowhere I can tell, my whole world is falling apart! I can’t stop crying, I can’t stand myself, I think everyone hates me and I’m just a huge burden! A little while later I’m planning family night…pizza, movies…I’m so physically exhausted after one of these episodes. Oh…and let’s not forget my poor family! It’s very hard on them, they walk on eggshells and I feel so guilty for putting them through these episodes.
Now to finally answer your question. (*Hears muttering, “it’s about time”*)
Many Psychiatrists are finding that Lamictal works quite well as a treatment for rapid cyclers. Tegretol and Trileptal seem to be choice medications for many Psychiatrists as well. Some doctors are finding if their patient needs just a bit more help, they’ll sometimes add an atypical antipsychotic such as Zyprexa, Seroquel, or Abilify. These are just a few examples and in NO WAY meant to be medical advice or a substitute for professional help.
The best thing to do when you’re experiencing symptoms or you feel like something is wrong is to talk to your doctor as soon as possible.
I hope this information and answer has helped.