Comorbid Bipolar and Anxiety Disorders

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The largest treatment study of bipolar disorder conducted to date found that more than half the study participants with bipolar disorder also had a comorbid anxiety disorder.*

I have been experiencing what I thought were hypomanic symptoms – decreased need for sleep, restlessness, increased productivity/creativity, project-oriented tasks, irritability, OCD behaviors, agitation, and distractibility.

However, since my over all mood was not elated or euphoric but rather anxious, my psychiatrist said I was experiencing anxiety and not mania. I do tend to cope with anxiety by “keeping busy” to distract myself and to work off all of that “nervous energy.” And I get a bit obsessive with cleaning and organizing my environment in an attempt to control my surroundings in some way when I am feeling “out of control” on the inside.

It is frustrating to get confused on what my symptoms mean, however. I guess that is what the doctors are there for – to assess and diagnose. I would like to think I knew myself and my illness a little bit better by now though, but I guess we are always learning, aren’t we? Do your symptoms ever confuse you?

*Reference

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6 thoughts on “Comorbid Bipolar and Anxiety Disorders

  1. Although I don’t have bipolar, I do think that figuring out what is actually effecting you can be a very important step to getting through it. I thought I just had social anxiety disorder when I was panicking and stuff yet I then found out it developed because I had autism spectrum disorder – mental health things can cross over each other so much (I was almost diagnosed with borderline personality disorder) but I find that getting to the bottom of what’s really going on is a big sigh of relief in itself and it tends to explain so much 🙂

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    • I agree. I just want to know what i am dealing with exactly. There is security is knowing what is going on with myself even if what is going on is not pleasant. Thank you for your comment. You understand what i mean.

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  2. My symptoms are pretty clear-cut…I just wish I could get rid of them all with a magic wand! 😉 You’re right – we are always learning and it’s good that you recognize that and have an open mind. I really hope that your anxious feelings are subsiding now.

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    • Thanks, Dyane. Unfortunately, my anxiety is pretty much always there. I have been sleeping a lot more the last two days so maybe this spell of extra anxiety is behind me. We shall see. Would love to read about your symptoms sometime. I always like reading about other’s experiences of symptoms of the same disorder. It amazes me how much variance there is.

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  3. I have a few things going… and sometimes it’s confusing. Sometimes the bipolar part is the most confusing, but I’m clear about when I’m not being all the things at least. 🙂

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  4. Yes my symptoms confuse me all the time. What I can’t usually figure out is are these symptoms of my bipolar 1 or are they side effects of my meds. But I also have pretty major anxiety, and I never realized I had that until recently and I was diagnosed in 1985!

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