Warmth and Mania

I was reading about peoples’ experiences of a medication that I used to take in a forum, and the conversation seemed to go slightly off-track. Many, many people who had been prescribed it for bipolar disorder started talking about how they seemed to become manic or exhibit symptoms of mania when the weather became warm, or in a warm environment.

This got me thinking, just a little bit. I remember trying to explain to a psychiatrist, many years ago, that I felt I could predict when anxiety would strike by observing the relative size of the blood vessels near to the skin in my hands and wrists. He told me this was nonsense, and that it was merely a reaction to ambient temperature, that the blood vessels dilate when you feel warm.

I then started to think about the fact that many people with bipolar (incidently, I don’t, so much of this is guesswork) cannot take many antidepressants as they find they induce mania.

In some of my earlier, rushed thoughts, I have spoken about my hypothesis that the mechanism of action of serotonin effecting antidepressants is to mediate blood flow via the control of the level of constriction of blood vessels.

Could it be the same mechanism inducing the mania with antidepressants in those with bipolar as that having a similar effect in warm conditions? Would dietary and environmental factors which cause vasodilation have a mania-inducing effect too?

My last thought on this for today, which occurred to me just seconds ago, as I reached for a nice, calming cigarette, was that, for me, at least, smoking has a powerful vasoconstrictive effect – I have quit for a couple of days at a time fairly recently, and I  noticed that when I restarted, my lips became numb almost immediately, a state which seems to be normal but unnoticed the whole time I’m a smoker. Interestingly, I first became ill all those years ago in the months following quitting smoking for the first time.




~ by funnyinthehead on September 12, 2011.

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