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Mark Manley
Mark Manley, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 402
Experience:  Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Over 15 years exp. Married 30 years and happy.
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Hi There, 4 years ago, my husband had an episode that last

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Hi There,

4 years ago, my husband had an episode that last 2 weeks, came on suddenly and disappeared suddenly. This has not ever been clearly diagnosed or defined, even after several tests, including electroencephalogram, magnetic resonance imaging, and cat scan, also a multitude of blood work, all came back negative. I'll give you symptoms: total disconnection with reality, amnesia, a personality that had NO resemblance of his own. (Appeared alot like multiple personality disorder), however he didn't even know how to tie his own shoes, properly shower, example, didn't know what to do with soap or shampoo in the shower. He was also EXTREMELY sexually aggressive towards me, cornering me was his goal, and his vocabulary during the sexual aggression was extremely obscene. He saw a psychiatrist who gave him 75mg of Effexor twice daily, for 3 months, barely long enough for the antidepressant to really work. Two weeks from the day of onset, my husband had 'snapped' out of this episode and had absolutely no recollection of what had happened. This psychosis had returned just a few weeks ago, Dec 22nd to be exact, this time it seemed less disabling, meaning he knew who each of his family members are, could rhyme of important dates such as his birthday, my birthday, our children's etc, the sexual aggression returned as well, and his personality was not of his own once again. Again he saw a psychiatrist, who says it's catatonic depression. The episode this time last one week to the day. Again, he has no recollection of the experience. He's again being treated with Effexor, 150mg a day at bedtime. He is completely back to his normal self. Question: When I asked if this could be multiple personality disorder, I was told not likely as with multiple personalities, the patient's alter personalities, usually have other names, that are not their own. My husband when asked his name answered appropriately. My concern is this, if it is indeed depression, how can depression suddenly come on, and suddenly disappear? When I say suddenly, I can compare to a light switch, this episode as the last episode, both came on suddenly and disappeared suddenly, both times disappearing when waking from a sleep. What do you thinK??
The reason you have not received a conclusive answer from the doctors is because the mechanisms for mental health functioning are not clearly enough known to say why this has happened to your husband. There is much more about the mind that we don't know than what we do. The Psychiatrist will treat the symptoms and try to keep them at bay but will not be able to tell you exactly what causes the episodes or why the medication helps (if it indeed does help). Our science is not developed enough to give you the answers you so desperately want and need. I am sorry you and he are going through this it must be terribly unnerving.

All I can do is suggest you follow the psychiatrist's recommendations.

Mark Manley
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Have you ever seen anything like this in your practice, what are some of possibilities given the clearest description of symptoms?
Yes, it seems like some type of a transient psychosis. If a person's brain chemistry goes wacko the person can get totally crazy in an instant. If the chemistry gets right every thing can come back to normal just as fast. It is bizarre to witness. Even more bizarre to experience I am sure. You might know about postpartum psychosis. This is where a woman is normal after giving birth and then after some days or weeks goes crazy, symptoms can come on like a flash and last for a period of time and then go as fast as they came. Of course it is thought that this is caused by hormonal changes in the body.

Your psychiatrist is basically diagnosing him with a depression that markedly alters his memory and personality, (you noticed all of this when it happened except maybe the depression). Personality which we tend to think of as stable can change in an instant if the brain chemistry is altered. Yes this is unusual but as you now know it can and does happen. Because cause is so little understood treatment is limited and is largely an educated guessing game of trial and error on the part of psychiatry.

Ask me all you want and I will try to answer your questions but the basic answer is not one you or anyone in your position wants to hear. We don't know.

Another stone you can turn over is hormonal study. If indicated a holistic medical doctor can treat to balance by using bio-identical (not synthetic) hormone therapy. is a good source for information on this. This is fringe medicine and not directly implicated for the type of condition you are describing. Some physicians believe sub-clinical (not detectable with standard lab tests) hormonal imbalance is causative or contributive to many mental and physical illnesses.

Let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Thank You.
Mark Manley

Note: I am not a medical doctor and I am not intending to diagnose or treat any type of mental or physical disorder in my comments above.
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