Listening to the radio yesterday, I heard a Terry Gross interview with a woman author. I don’t recall her name or the books she wrote, but she described the experience of being a bipolar author and finding herself frequently saying things she wished she hadn’t. The author noted that the condition in its manic stage is characterized by the sharing of inappropriate words and behaviors and a difficulty identifying conventional boundaries.
I grew up with a bipolar mother, yet I’d never made the connection between the manic phase of the condition and Asperger’s, where individuals often can’t easily intuit appropriate words and behavior. The connection suggests several questions.
Is a bipolar person having this difficulty identifying social convention boundaries during the manic stage having this same difficulty in the depression stage? During the depression stage, is the difficulty just not obvious because of the diminution in engagement? Or, is there an endocrinological foundation to this difficulty, with swings in hormone levels mirroring these changes in behavior?
Many women experience radical swings in mood before, during and after menstruation. If I remember right, progesterone levels can plummet, resulting in mood changes, and in some women, migraines. My mother was bipolar, and she had frequent migraines. Might there be a connection between the hormone changes in a woman’s cycle and the mood swing changes in bipolar personality disorder that suggest an understanding of the hormonal underpinnings of Asperger’s and autism?
Again, going off memory, I believe bipolar disorder in women is often characterized by early puberty. What might the relationship be between the timing of pubertal onset and these conditions?
Are the bipolar more likely to be from families with left-handers, as is the case with autism and Asperger’s?
Might there be a different etiology for male and female bipolar persons based on the rate and timing of maturation, as I hypothesize is the case for autism and Asperger’s? The onset of schizophrenia is very different for men and women, coming later with women.
Might there be different forms of bipolar disorder, depending on pubertal onset?
OK, I have way more questions here than I have information to suggest patterns.