What to Do if Autoimmune Disease Caused Your Bipolar Disorder


What to do if autoimmune disease caused your bipolar disorder. What should you do if you think that many of the symptoms you experienced at the start of your illness are from generalized unwellness i.e. you’ve been feeling like shit for a while and it finally reseached a melting point. And you want to know why. What caused it?

Good for you. You’re brilliant.

Autoimmune Disease and Autoimmune Reactions in the Body Can Mimic Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
Autoimmune Disease and Autoimmune Reactions in the Body Can Mimic Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Onset of symptoms that occurs over the course of a few months or years, or that was even triggered by a traumatic event you experienced such as assault, divorce, death of loved one or even childbirth. And became serious enough you needed to seek medical care or were forced to.

Don't Accept a Prescription for an Antidepressant as Valid Treatment. Seek Medical Care For… Click To Tweet

These are the things we are thinking about here. We are not thinking about your diagnosis, about all the meds you’ve been put on or the one antidepressant that they gave you that had you climbing off the walls and thinking you truly were crazy.

You’re not. It’s the med.

Then they maybe gave you a mood stabilizer or benzodiazepine ‘this will help calm your agitated nerves’ type med. You don’t really know what it was. You didn’t look it up online and only know how to pronounce the generic name.

And if you are lucky, your physician advised you to stop taking the medication after it made you worse by tapering slowly while being monitored closely. As opposed to writing a prescription for a new one to give you yet more distressing side effects.

Today, patients are being drugged to death, literally. Children are dying after being put on these meds.

Related post: PAPA – Amazing Parents Fighting for All of Our Kids.

What Was Happening at the Start of Your Illness

If you did try to get medical care and were just talked to and handed a prescription for an antidepressant or anxiety med and then got worse, you are not alone. And your symptoms have not been adequately addressed.

You could have underlying inflammation, unidentified mineral-vitamin imbalances, hormone deficiencies or related disease, etc. Maybe your job is overly-demanding and the office building a ‘sick building’ full of toxic chemicals and molds.

Don’t Accept a Diagnosis of Depression – Seek Medical Care

And you also may have an autoimmune condition that did not get identified. Of course it didn’t, the doctor just thought you were ‘depressed’ and did not do any testing. If this sounds like what’s happened to you… you need to:

1.   Find a new doctor.

2.   Focus on your symptoms and search for underlying root causes.

3.   Ignore any label you’ve been given.

Not ignore as in ‘you aren’t depressed’, ‘you are not experiencing periods of emotional distress or hypomania’. Ignore in that it is only just that i.e. a term or terms used to categorize what you are experiencing and relaying to the physician.

You are describing ‘symptoms’. What you want to ask is “symptoms of what?”

What has created the illness state of depression in my brain-body? What has affected my sleep patterns to the point I am becoming more irritable, anxious and over-reactive? That’s not the normal me, you say.

I’ve never been crazy, I’m not crazy… so why am I feeling so ill – like a raving lunatic or lobotomized zombie? That’s how you want to think.

There Are 80 Types of Autoimmune Disease

The below is quoted from Medline Plus.com:

“An autoimmune disorder occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys healthy body tissue by mistake. There are more than 80 types of autoimmune disorders.”

From the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA): “Autoimmune disease affects up to 50 million Americans” Source: Autoimmune Statistics.

One autoimmune illness with symptoms that mimic depression (and also bipolar disorder) is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Have you been tested thorougly? Even if you’ve been tested, you could still have an underlying similar condition such as subclinical hypothyroidism.

Related post: Your Bipolar Symptoms May Be Undiagnosed Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

Things That Trigger Autoimmune Disease Can Also Trigger Bipolar Disorder

All organs in the body and bodily tissues can be affected by autoimmune illness – including your brain.

That’s right. Autoimmune disease can affect your brain. Affect your brain causing changes in mood and behavior. And an autoimmune disease, therefore, can trigger the onset of symptoms that led to you getting a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder.

Interesting stuff, yes? And very hopeful in potential future diagnosing, treating and long-term care and outcomes for anyone who gets a bipolar diagnosis, of whatever flavor.

What if the autoimmune illness or reactions are taking place in the gut? In your gut and affecting the production of neurotransmitters that then – again – are affecting your mood states and leading to mental distress?

Related post: You Have a Second Brain – Your Gut!

See how this thinking plays out? You can do it too. Eighty different types? That makes my head spin. You may not fit into any clear category but just recognizing that there are things going on that can be treated is a good start. You want to recover and be well. Not end up permanently disabled by psychotropic medications.

Inflammation is now thought to be a primary underlying cause of depression. And no – psych meds do not treat inflammation. If anything, they would make it worse, especially with long-term use.

Stay hopeful, seek medical care including help tapering from psychotropic medications if that is your goal and you want to focus on actual medical conditions and treatments for the symptoms you have that led to the ‘bipolar label’ you were given.

I’m not saying Manic Depression, depression or psychosis, etc. doesn’t exist. What I’m saying is that if you are told it is a ‘chemical imbalance in your brain’ and you have to take meds for the rest of your life you are being lied to.

That’s what I’m saying. And it is true.

And I am not telling anyone to stop medications without medical supervision. That’s a recipe for disaster and potentially severe consequences including hospitalization. But you can find qualified doctors to help.

Need a referral? Email me and I will find one for you near where you live.

That’s what I did. Can read my book for the down and dirty details but I’m alive, I have lived with severe Manic Depression for more than 30 years, and been off psych meds for around 24 years.

You can get better too, and feel better. Cheers.



  1. Sam Brazier said:

    How would one get tested for all these autoimmune conditions?
    I have been diagnosed with bipolar but I no longer have manic episodes just depression and anxiety.
    Over the summer I was so bad with anxiety I could not sleep or rest was so angry and adgitated my head face and neck were pounding. My memory was bad I was slurring my speech and at one point couldn’t talk only text!
    I’m so tired of going round in circles and want real answers and results to feeling a lift in my mood.
    I had a private blood test for anti NMDA receptors which was negative but I know lumber punctures are more accurate? Brain scan and MRI found no results.
    Any guidance to getting somewhere would be kind of you. Thanks

    December 15, 2017
    • Molly said:

      Hi Sam, apologies for the delay in posting and responding to your comment – I was out of town for a few days. I am sorry for your struggles (they do sound severe) though it is great you have found ways to prevent mania. The first question I’d have to ask is what – if any – medications you are on.

      That could be a primary cause of your symptoms. And I am not saying if you are on any medication there was no reason for it to be prescribed and you to be taking it… just that you have to take that issue into account when trying to heal your mood disorder issues.

      Many get diagnosed bipolar who are dealing with a variety of health conditions. The reality is – really – if someone has never experienced mania and is not Manic Depressive (now called bipolar 1 disorder) then they are not (shocking) Manic Depressive i.e. bipolar. The bipolar spectrum was created to market new antipsychotic medications entering the market in 1994 after patents had expired for other psych meds.

      Major depression disorder and BPD have now become new forms of bipolar – or folks get added on a ‘BP-lite’ spectrum diagnosis to be able to be given more drugs. Not good, not geared toward health or recovery and cover ups the underlying issues of their symptoms.

      Congrats to you for beginning to break out of that mold, and search for ways to treat and heal potential root causes of your symptoms.

      If these medicantions actually treated anything – they don’t – there wouldn’t be much of an issue and you would experience long-lasting – NOT temporary which is primarily a placebo effect – improvement. But from reading the above that has not happened and it won’t. All psychotropic medications have side effects that get worse with long-term use. Why they then prescribe new meds… they have no clue in actuality what they are doing to your body. Or simply don’t care.

      Soooo, I’m just laying out my thinking process here – for me the first step to take is to identify anything that is contributing to your current symptoms. That includes prescription medications, alcohol/drug use, poor diet, lack of any exercise routine, an overly-stressful job or relationship, etc.

      As you do that, do try to re-analyze what has gone or what you experience within other medical frameworks. Autoimmune issues is an excellent start. It’s incredible what they are learning and that an inflammatory process (which can be caused by any of the above triggers I already mentioned: diet, stress, toxic medications) may be at the root of much of what gets diagnosed as depression.

      I hope I am making a little sense. I’m not a doctor and cannot give medical advice – of course I cannot analyse test results. But you are on the right track… hope some of what I have written helps.

      I’ve wanted to research and write about anxiety connected to bipolar, when I do will send you a note. Maybe I will find some research or info that is helpful.

      Wish I could offer more, hope your journey is moving towards better health, Molly

      December 17, 2017

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