Q: Mood Stabilizers & Prednisone Treatment
My father reacts terribly to prednozone but depends on it to survive
severe asthma. He takes it on occasion. I was diagnosed with bipolar and I'm
worried my father may have it. His doctor knows about his reaction to the
steroid but, apparently nothing can be done. It's been said that he would die
without it so we all just have to deal with him losing his normal personality
for a time and become well to put it mildly, very fn frightening. Would my
father recieving a diagnoses of bipolar help him in managing his reaction to
this drug? Like if he were on mood stabilizers while taking prednozone, is it
possible his reaction would not be as severe?
I hate meds and I hate this diagnoses and do not think it would be beneficial to
my father to suggest he get help now, just for when he takes the prednozone.
Dear Shawna --
There's a lot of energy in that note. Sorry to hear you're having to deal with
bipolarity on two fronts, yours and his. Bad enough on one. It does bring to
mind a concept that might be of some use, before turning to your question. Goes
like this: "Suffering = pain + struggle."
The idea there is that pain is one thing, but
struggling with and against it is another, which leads to suffering. Or viewed
the other way around, one can work at suffering less by working at struggling
less. One will still have pain, that's a separate matter. But one may be able to
suffer less with it, and that can often be very helpful. Some people can
tolerate a lot of pain, if they figure out how to stop struggling with it. As
you can gather, that idea has to do with your comment about hating the
diagnosis. Bad enough to have it. Worse to hate it, perhaps?
Now, as for prednisone: yes, sometimes the respiratory
doc's feel like they just have to use it, and I wouldn't argue with them (beyond
simply making my concerns know about how it affects the mood condition I'm
trying to treat). Would mood stabilizers help keep his reaction to them more
under control? I think that is very likely. Does he need to have a diagnosis of
bipolar disorder to take mood stabilizers? No, I don't think that's necessary,
and might not even be appropriate. We could call this "Mood Disorder due to a
General Medical Condition", DSM code 293.83. The focus could instead remain on
treatment. The respiratory doc' could ask for a psychiatric consultation, a
limited role simply to focus on mood stabilizer treatment during prednisone
Good luck with all that.
Published October, 2005