February 22nd, 2011
09:07 AM ET
Can antidepressants jump-start bipolar disorder?
Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Tuesdays, it's Dr. Charles Raison, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University, and an expert in the mind-body connection for health.
Asked by Michelle, Michigan
I had an untreated health issue for a couple of years that threw me into a mild depression. I have a mother and brother who are bipolar and one of the things my therapist told me is that studies show that if you go on an antidepressant and there is a history of bipolar in your family that this can sometimes "kick in" the bipolar. I am lucky and was able to get past my depression with therapy, exercise, etc. I was just wondering what your thoughts were.Expert answer
I've got a lot of thoughts about your question, and they are all confused! In this way I am much like the field of psychiatry as a whole. Ten years ago I would have told you that what you'd heard was absolutely correct and that people with bipolar disorder should avoid antidepressants because of the risk these medications pose in terms of making vulnerable people manic.
I still mostly believe this, but a number of large studies done over the last five years do not do much to confirm the idea that antidepressants are dangerous for people with - or at risk for - bipolar disorder. In these studies, people with bipolar disorder seem able to take antidepressants and not "go manic" at any higher rate than they would have naturally.
On the other hand, anyone who has practiced psychiatry for any time at all can tell you stories of people like yourself with a bipolar family history who went manic soon after going on an antidepressant for the first time. So what's the truth? We just don't know.
In fact, we don't even know whether antidepressants help people with bipolar disorder who get depressed. It's interesting. Studies done on the East Coast of the United States tend to find that antidepressants do not help, whereas studies done on the West Coast suggest that they are of tremendous benefit. What's the truth? We just don't know yet.
There are a few things I think we can say with at least a little certainty. First, we know that people from families with bipolar disorder are twice as likely to have "regular old" depression than to have classic bipolar disorder. Like everyone else, these folks should have their depression treated as rapidly and completely as possible, and antidepressants are often hugely useful in accomplishing this. On the other hand, there is at least some evidence that people with family histories like yours may be at an increased risk of having a manic episode on an antidepressant. This wouldn't stop me from using one, but I'd watch with extra caution. The good news is that you tapped into other well documented antidepressant strategies, including exercise and psychotherapy.
About this blog
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.
This is a topic that is close to my heart... Take care! Exactly where are your contact details though?
I’m amazed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s equally educative and interesting, and let me tell you, you've hit the nail on the head. The issue is something which not enough folks are speaking intelligently about. Now i'm very happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something concerning this.
Pretty! This was a really wonderful post. Many thanks for providing this info.
I couldn’t resist commenting. Perfectly written!
This page certainly has all of the info I needed about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.
You are so awesome! I do not believe I've truly read something like that before. So good to find another person with a few original thoughts on this subject matter. Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This web site is something that's needed on the internet, someone with a bit of originality!
Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thank you, However I am encountering issues with your RSS. I don’t understand why I cannot join it. Is there anyone else having the same RSS problems? Anyone that knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanx!!
After looking over a few of the blog posts on your web site, I honestly appreciate your technique of writing a blog. I saved it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back soon. Please check out my web site too and let me know your opinion.
Hi there, I think your blog may be having browser compatibility issues. When I take a look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine however when opening in I.E., it has some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Aside from that, wonderful blog!
It’s nearly impossible to find well-informed people in this particular topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks
Good site you have got here.. It’s hard to find high-quality writing like yours nowadays. I seriously appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!
Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Spending some time and actual effort to generate a good article… but what can I say… I hesitate a whole lot and don't seem to get anything done.
This blog was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something which helped me. Appreciate it!
Everything is very open with a precise description of the challenges. It was really informative. Your website is very useful. Thank you for sharing!
Having read this I believed it was really informative. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this information together. I once again find myself spending a significant amount of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worth it!
This site was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something which helped me. Many thanks!
Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this post and the rest of the site is very good.
Next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesn't disappoint me just as much as this one. After all, Yes, it was my choice to read, but I actually thought you'd have something interesting to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something you can fix if you were not too busy searching for attention.
Hi there! This blog post could not be written much better! Going through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept talking about this. I most certainly will send this information to him. Pretty sure he will have a very good read. Thanks for sharing!
Good info. Lucky me I came across your site by chance (stumbleupon). I have book-marked it for later!
Right here is the right webpage for anybody who wants to find out about this topic. You realize a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I really would want to…HaHa). You certainly put a brand new spin on a topic that has been written about for decades. Excellent stuff, just excellent!
Wonderful post! We are linking to this great article on our site. Keep up the good writing.
After I originally commented I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now whenever a comment is added I receive 4 emails with the same comment. Is there a means you can remove me from that service? Thank you!
You are so cool! I do not think I've read through a single thing like that before. So nice to find someone with a few genuine thoughts on this subject matter. Really.. thank you for starting this up. This site is something that is required on the web, someone with some originality!
http://radio.cancaonova.com/iframe-loader/?t=Dating Single: No Longer a Mystery â€“ RÃ¡dio&ra=&url=https://fleetvehiclerepairshop.com/van-body-shop-near-me
I needed to thank you for this very good read!! I definitely loved every little bit of it. I have you book marked to check out new things you post…
You made some good points there. I checked on the web for more info about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this website.
Chris, gracias por el muy necesario consejo 🙂
Right here is the right website for anyone who really wants to find out about this topic. You know so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally will need to…HaHa). You definitely put a brand new spin on a subject which has been discussed for many years. Excellent stuff, just excellent!