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Bipolar Disorder (Children and Adolescents)

Connecting Physical Brain Dysfunctions with Bipolar Disorder

11/16/2007

Question:

Hi, I have been going to a psychiatrist for about 5 years because of frequent mood shifts. I get extremely depressed about once a week for 1 or 2 days and in between I am fine.I haven´t had any manic or hypomanic episodes in the past. About 4 months ago my psychiatrist refered me to a neurologist to have an EEG done which showed I have spike-wave activity in the left temporal lobes during the depression, which dissapears in between the depressive episodes. Also I had an MRI which showed I have mesial temporal sclerosis also on the left side. What are the chances that my depression is due to bipolar disorder and not epilepsy? Could the abnormal EEG findings and the mesial temporal sclerosis be just incidental findigs without any clinical significance? I mean is it possible that they do not produce any symptoms and that my depressive episodes are due to a mental disorder? From what I have read it is rare for epilepsy to cause psychiatric symptoms like mine. Thank you in advance.

Answer:

I'm sorry to hear about your situation and symptoms. If you have epilepsy, there is an increased likelihood that you would have mood symptoms that include depression and possibly mania. The cyclic nature of your symptom bear investigation with your psychiatrist. Your MRI and EEG bear investigation by a neurologist with epilepsy expertise.

Read more about Bipolar Disorder from the National Institute of Mental Health and remember - it does not have to be either/or.

For more information:

Go to the Bipolar Disorder (Children and Adolescents) health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Stephen F Pariser, MD Stephen F Pariser, MD
Faculty Emeritus
Professor of Psychiatry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University