Is it just Depression or Something More Serious?
I’ve been having extreme mood swings ranging from wanting to scream at people and curse at anything, to not having a care in the world, to not wanting to do anything all day (not eat or bathe or move) to the next day feeling full of energy and needing to do something. Very easily bored, I always feel the need to do something. Extreme break from reality, feeling like I’m watching myself from afar, that I haven’t done things I have, like life’s not real. Constant empty feeling. I find myself wanting to binge on alcohol often and it’s a struggle to stop at 1 glass ever, even though I hate feeling drunk. I’m very easily irritated by anything. Drifting off in my own mind, only to come back to reality and realize I’ve been daydreaming for up to 30mins (this can happen anywhere). Extremely high sex drive. I’m on antidepressants that are good for irritability, but am I just depressed or is there something else wrong with me? I feel like my minds warped and have no idea what to do about it. I don’t even think I’d care if I died tomorrow, surely that’s not normal?
A: Some of your symptoms are definitely included within the diagnosis of Depression, such as lack of motivation, feelings of emptiness, irritability, not caring if you died (passive suicidal thoughts) and dulled thoughts and feelings. I’ve had some clients report feeling detached from reality at times as well.
However, some of the symptoms you describe are not typical in depression, such as feeling full of energy and having a high sex drive. These are more often seen in Bipolar Disorder, but these symptoms alone would not be enough to suggest a Bipolar diagnosis. Having a formal mental health assessment will be the best way to find out what is causing the symptoms you are currently experiencing.
You mention that you are taking antidepressants so I would suggest that you speak with your prescribing physician about your diagnosis and your symptoms. Let that provider know that you are having new or more severe symptoms that concern you. I also hope that you are seeing a therapist. Many people get medications from their doctor and think that it’s enough, but medications only address symptoms. Therapists are better suited to help you understand and manage the underlying causes of the symptoms.
Finally, binge drinking may be a way of self-medicating or trying to regulate your mood. However, this will only make things worse. Drinking alcohol negates the effects of antidepressants, ultimately making you more depressed. You may feel better for a short time, but generally you will feel worse afterward. Addressing this issue with a therapist, your doctor or a support group may help you feel better also.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts
Counts, H. (2014). Is it just Depression or Something More Serious?. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 3, 2016, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/04/25/is-it-just-depression-or-something-more-serious/