Q. I've noticed that I am almost always sick when I am manic with extreme
sinus and ear congestion. Also get headaches which feel like brain is
swelling or I'm wearing a hat that's too tight. (I'm Bpd and rapid
cycling bipolar among other things). Often my physician puts me through
two or more courses of antibiotics before the sinus/ear "infection" goes
away. Of course I can't take decongestants and antihistamines: learned
that on my own, the hard way, like most every thing else about these
My mother and her mother both had similar mental diagnosis's (my
grandmother was hospitalized in a mental institution for 17 years and
died there while in her 30's) and I remember my mom having constant
sinus trouble. When I am mentally healthy I rarely get sick like this.
Is there something besides a compromised immune system and stress to
account for this?
I have this weird idea stuck in my head that the chemicals causing the
rapid cycling are somehow clogging up my whole head.
Ridiculous, I know, but you never know.
A. There are a number of studies indicating that mania and depression
parts of the immune system. Not a total compromise, but enough that you
get ill more easily.
As far as decongestants, I have good luck with Claritin and Zyrtec in my
manic patients. They are both once daily, and dry you out pretty well.
Antibiotics are not my forte, and I would go with whatever covers most
nosicomial infections that your internist offers.