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Could the Meningitis be causing this Bipolar disorder?

I have worked with foster children for fifteen years, several with bipolar disorder …so I have dealt with these kids for years. So that is why I requested your book. But most recently my adult son has just recently been diagnosed …he has been very difficult to talk to. He is on medication, and seeing a doctor but it hasn't helped much. His behavior is overwhelming his wife and children. We can't seem to reach him, or are afraid to try.

My question is, when he was 10 months old he had viral meningitis and was very ill. At five years of age the doctors thought he had Muscular Dystrophy, because his muscles were so weak,, and still are. But, now I see from research that this was damage was most likely due from the Meningitis. Could the Meningitis also be causing this Bipolar disorder? What would you recommend we do?



Hi L.,

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, bipolar disorder would NOT be diagnosed if the individual in question had developed a mood disorder as a direct result of some medical, neurological, or infectious disease process that had affected her brain. In such a case, the correct diagnosis would be, "Mood Disorder Due to General Medical Condition".

So he might get a diagnosis of "psychosis due to a general medical condition” (his meningitis). Or the doctor might consider a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, which could have been "latent" and triggered by his meningitis.

In either case, the symptoms should be treated (in his case, some behavior changes that sound potentially "bipolar-like" treated with "anti-psychotics" and "mood stabilizers" respectively).

So we have a clear trigger by an infection, but also the possibility that something was "latent" before the infection.

Recommendation: He should try medication approaches ‘as if’ he has bipolar disorder.

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