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Q:  Dear David,

I was diagnosed as bi-polar this past fall.  I am currently taking a low dose of Effexor as well as Lamictal.  There working very well for me in the general day to day situations.

However, whenever I have big events coming up...I seem to do ok through the event but then afterwards it's almost like my body shuts down and it takes about 3 days for me to recover.  For example, this weekend my family had a wedding reception to attend on Saturday, a baby blessing on Sunday and dental appointments on Monday which were all out of town.  Now on Tuesday I feel like I can't hold my head above water.  Any suggestions?  I've talked to my counselor about it to see if he has some cognitive ideas to help me but with no help.

Dear D,

     You were wise to speak to your counselor first about this.....having exhausted this route, I would now ask your psychiatrist's advice.  It sounds to me like the stress of social interaction or leaving familiar surroundings is zapping your energy for several days following such experiences.  At the risk of sounding biased toward meds, your doctor may suggest an anti-anxiety medication that you might use on an as-needed basis on those infrequent occasions when you're likely to need them.  Sometimes, just having access to such relief IF and when you need it, reduces your anxiety level alone.  At any rate, discuss this with your psychiatrist or prescribing physician.  A combination of cognitive therapy and medication may do the trick for you.  Good luck.

David Schafer, M.Ed.
Staff Psychologist

Published June, 2006

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