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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10643
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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My wife had some anxiety surface after having a baby 7 years

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My wife had some anxiety surface after having a baby 7 years ago, along with minor OCD. She is currently 29 years old. No family history of bipolar or mental disease at all. Three months ago, we started marriage counseling and she got off birth control pills (now with non hormonal IUD), to perhaps deal with her slight moody days, and anxiety, as well as my anxiety.
Well now, the past few months, she really is more upbeat, sleeps 5-6 hours, instead of 8, is more social, generally happier, exercises. She says the counseling has helped her deal with anxiety and the BCP were probably driving her nuts. Althought she also has lost 10 pounds (she is 91 now), but she has been that weight all her life up to birth.
My question: She had a two nights where she woke up in the middle of night, couldn't sleep, one of them she woke me up to be intimiate with her and eat food. she also is more ambitious. for some reason, after googling symptoms of mania, I have a suspicioin she is have a hopymania or a prelude to something else. given these data alone, is this how bipolar starts generally? at this age? am I just being paranoid? granted she was a more social and hyper fun girl before she had the baby. but the weight loss, and change in mood, and less sleep concern me.
I spent the whole weekend just looking at her and talking to her, she is totally normal, no signs of running mind, shes completely fine and FUN!
please help me with some clarity.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 4 years ago.
DoctorZ :

Hello I believe I can help you with your concern for your wife

DoctorZ :

I understand your concern and you are right some of the symptoms you have described can be associated with hypomania and a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder at 29 years old is not uncommon, but I do not see a Bipolar Disorder from the symptoms you have been telling me

DoctorZ :

The reason I do not see it is because you have not mentioned any type of depressive symptoms, like crying spells, loss of motivation, hopelessness, etc...You have only described anxiety, which can be associated with depression (anxiety and depression are often comorbid disorders).

DoctorZ :

Now there are some possibilities for her behavior, one is that the counselling and discontinuing the birth control pills have made her very happy and full of energy because she is so happy, which is why she is exercising, only sleeping 5-6 hours, etc...

DoctorZ :

The other possibility is that she has a condition called Unipolar Hypomania. This condition is still being researched and it basically like Bipoalr Disorder II, except the individual fluctuates between a normal and Hypomanic state without any depressive disorder being present. Some researchers feel that Unipolar Hypomania is more prevalent in society than originally thought, but most people do not seek medical advice for these symptoms because they are mostly feeling good and full of energy, so they do not see a medical problem with their behavior.

DoctorZ :

Many individuals with Unipolar Hypomania can be thought of as successful in social situations and high achievers, so most researchers do not feel as if this condition should be treated because the individuals are so high functioning. Now if your wife displays more manic behaviors like pressured speech, irritable mood, racing thoughts, irresponsibility, and impulsivity, then I think she should seek medical and psychological advice and may be asked to take a mood stabilizer to regulate her behavior. But at this point I do not think you have anything to worry about since she has mostly showed certain hypomanic behaviors, with no signs of a depressive disorder.

DoctorZ :

I see that you are offline right now, but if you have any questions, concerns, or would like to discuss this more, you are more than welcome to reply in the chat box at anytime and I will be sure to get back to you as promptly as I can.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for the reassurance.

There has been no major depression I would say, but along with her anxiety, she has had few days a month where she is more down and irritable. She never got to a point where she couldn't get out of bed, or anything, but no crying spells either besides normal wife stuff I suppose. She did a great job raising our daughter, and we have had some fun times together.

Although she has been very stubborn for seeking therapy and medication for her anxiety until few months ago.

Thank you for your reassurance. if there is antyhign else you can let me know, with the added information, please let me know.

Expert:  Dr. Z replied 4 years ago.
Anytime, I am always happy to help. With Bipolar Disorder, typically the individual is in a longer state of depression, typically months, and then a short period of mania or hypomania, typically anywhere from 5 days to 2 weeks. But because your wife did not display any lasting depression, is another assurance that it is not a Bipolar Disorder. Some individuals, even in a hypomanic state can get mild to moderate anxiety, which is what I assume that your wife had. But the therapy and anti-anxiety medications seem to be doing their job and relieving your wife of any symptoms of anxiety. I would keep an eye out for any signs of depression or mania (not hypomania) that I mentioned earlier, this can show an escalation towards a Bipolar Disorder. As of right now I would not be too worried as she currently appears to be high functioning and overall happy, which are good signs of a well-adjusted person. If you have any other questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at anytime. Good luck and I wish you and your wife the best.
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