“Emil Kraepelin, the German psychiatrist who coined the phrase “manic depression,” wrote that bipolar illness, in contrast to schizophrenia, usually has a good prognosis. In Kraepelin’s original sample of 459 patients, 45% had only one attack, and very few had more than four episodes.” This was in the era before medication and represents the largest resource of documented unmedicated bipolar illness.
However, a quick search of “bipolar disorder “prognosis” shows mentalhealth.com, which states that modern bipolar illness typically consists of 8-10 episodes over a lifetime… what is going on? Why has the episode frequency/severity increased so much over the last 100 years?
And I do want to point out that Schizophrenia actually has a good prognosis, if you leave psychopharm out of it. Kraepelin often got it confused with encephalitis lethargica… and thus confused the prognosis.
Benadryl, that is. Diphenhydramine. Both of my psychotic/manic episodes were precipitated by accidental large doses of it. The 2nd one, I can speak to, because I was not completely out of it. I had been sleep-deprived. I bought some benadryl and some over-the-counter sleep medication. Both with the main ingredient of diphenhydramine. I didn’t know. I took the benadryl. I took the OTC sleep med. My husband, not knowing I had already taken a sleep med, gave me another sleep med. I was so sleep-deprived, I just took whatever he’d given me. A triple dose. And that was it. I had never been so anxious in my entire life. I went straight to the emergency room.
And I’ve never been the same.
I once asked my psychiatrist about this — and he said Benadryl’s not one of the drugs that can induce mania.
Like so many other things, I found it on the internet. I hesitate to start out our next appointment by saying, “I read on Wikipedia that…”, but damn it, Wikipedia links to a credible source:
Sexton, J. D.; D. J. Pronchik (September 1997). “Diphenhydramine-induced psychosis with therapeutic doses”. American Journal of Emergency Medicine 15 (5): 548–549. doi:10.1016/S0735-6757(97)90212-6. PMID 9270406. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?itool=pubmed_AbstractPlus&cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&list_uids=9270406&dopt=ExternalLink. Retrieved on 29 September 2006.
BOTH of my episodes involved this evil drug. Is it possible that my bipolar diagnosis is a mistake, that it’s just a strong reaction to a strong dose of benadryl? Then the whole last year, and my drug regimen is in vain. And I am pissed.
UPDATE: found another site that says that benadryl can cause mania in some people. I think I’m going to have to do a little experiment. Get off medications. Deprive myself of one or two days sleep. Take diphenhydramine (3 doses). Call doctor, batshit nuts, to prove to him that I’m not bipolar. And yes, I AM willing to go that far. This shit on your record can be serious stuff.
Manic Depression: I feel like her
Last week marked the one year anniversary since my breakdown and hospitalization. They played “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” on the TV there. When the song “Why Am I Such a Misfit?” came on, I couldn’t help but laugh and note the irony. I was wearing scrub-like pajamas and no shoes– it was deemed that the straps on my shoes were a suffocation hazard. I was really pissed at the media coverage of Britney Spears’ mental illness (which they were not yet calling bipolar disorder) because, I said indignantly, “Mental illness is not entertainment!” There was a boy there, Tom, who was almost catatonic, probably from being overmedicated. In fact, there were a lot of Cal students there: Island of Misfit Toys?