Bipolar Disorder & Body Temperature Deregulation » The Sunny Shadow
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08 Nov
Bipolar Disorder & Body Temperature Deregulation

Bipolar Disorder & Body Temperature Deregulation

“I don’t think I’m going to make it through winter.”

Without fail, those words wiggle their way through my clenched teeth every autumn. A bit dramatic? Maybe. But it’s kind of a big deal when you seriously consider skipping out on the entire first half of your daughter’s softball season. And she’s a pitcher for her high school varsity team! It’s not tee ball I’m referring to here. Though I’m not entirely sure that would make it any better.

And it’s all because my cold intolerance, which has gotten progressively worse with each passing year, is becoming almost unbearable.

I’m talking next level cold!

When I go to my daughter’s early season games I have to strategically plan my outfit. And it’s not because I’m trying to be the best-dressed mom at ballpark! It’s because I’m trying to figure out how many layers I can pile on without looking like the freakin’ Michelin Man!

And my home isn’t much better. My family runs warm. Or, maybe they’re “normal.” Either way, they freeze me out! Yet another reason to stay in bed. It seriously makes me cranky. I spend most of my day just trying to warm up. And hot showers are only a temporary fix. Motivation to start working out again, yes?

I’ve made doctors test my thyroid function at least twice, but the tests come back normal. Which is good, I suppose. It’s just hard for me to believe that this is normal. Moreover, I don’t want this to be my normal. I want a solution! And an easy one at that.

Now I can understand how it may sound like I’m whining about nothing. But I assure you, I am not. I’m fully aware that it could be much worse. And believe me, I am grateful that I have a bed and cozy blankets to crawl under. However, it does not make my cold intolerance any less real.

So I wanted to know, “how is bipolar disorder linked to body temperature deregulation?”

Bipolar Disorder + Temperature Deregulation

From what I’ve found, temperature deregulation is linked to bipolar disorder in two general ways:

  1. Circadian Rhythms: Bipolar disorder is believed to be a circadian rhythm disorder. That is, a disruption of the body’s intrinsic biological rhythms. Such as sleep/wake cycles, hormone release, and body temperature. A 2009 report showed that in individuals without bipolar disorder, body temperature is highest in the evening and lowest in the last third of the night. But in those with bipolar depression, body temperature “often shows a nocturnal increase and a reduction in amplitude.” I’ve also read reports of people claiming that their body temperature is warmer when manic and colder when depressed. –Also Read This → Bipolar Disorder & Circadian Rhythms: What You Need to Know!
  2. Medication: Various psychiatric medications have side effects that include difficulty regulating body temperature. Furthermore, some medications {like Seroquel}, have been shown to have a significant effect on thyroid function. Both causing hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism can cause cold sensitivity.

Hypothyroidism is Often Overlooked

HypothyroidMom.com is a great resource on this subject. Her website states that the Thyroid Federation International estimates that there are up to 300 million people worldwide suffering from hypothyroidism. Yet over half of them are unaware of their condition.

According to HypothyroidMom, a full thyroid panel for hypothyroidism should include at least these 6 key lab tests:

  1. TSH
  2. Free T4
  3. Free T3
  4. Reverse T3
  5. Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies
  6. Thyroglobulin Antibodies

So where does this leave me? Out in the cold? Maybe. I don’t feel comfortable messing with my psych meds. But I think that I will get my doctor to run the above full thyroid panel before simply accepting that this is it. If the tests are negative, I’ll be grateful that I have a healthy, functioning thyroid. Then I’ll work on accepting what has apparently become “my normal.”

Do you suffer from cold intolerance or struggle to regulate your body temperature in any way? Do you know of any other possible causes and/or solutions? Share them in the comments!

Sources not referenced above: JAMA Psychiatry | PubMed | The Side Effects of Common Psychiatric Drugs, A Report by Citizens Commission on Human Rights International | Drugs.com


Krista-Lee-Pfeiffer :: Blogger & Creator of The Sunny Shadow


12 Comments
  • Alexandra
    Posted at 13:10h, 13 March Reply

    I have bipolar and I have heat intolerance. Anything above 70 and I croak. Especially if it’s humid. I need the air conditioning.

    • krista-lee-pfeiffer
      Posted at 16:11h, 13 March Reply

      I’ve heard of someone else say something similar. I speculate that it could be a part of our circadian rhythm disruptions?? Stay cool this summer! Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment. -Krista

    • Kelly Catron
      Posted at 04:56h, 24 March Reply

      I have a problem with heat , I ‘m always too warm. Its intolerable, sometimes I wont’ go in a store or do anything that makes me hot , I sweat and feel horrible.
      Doctors haven’t helped and I have looked online to see if anyone else suffers from this. These are not hot flashes. I do need my thyroid checked again and plan to make appointment with doctor. In the middle of winter I won’t even wear a coat, Ive had to stay inside in air conditioning this past summer. So I have gained weight.
      The heat I feel is sickening to me. I start to feel nauseous and irritable. I do have bi polar disorder. At times I feel this is anxiety related.

      • krista-lee-pfeiffer
        Posted at 17:53h, 24 March

        Kelly, anxiety could definitely play a part in your heat intolerance. It sounds awful. I’ve dealt with the same thing as you when it comes to doctors. They minimize my complaints. But what you’re describing sounds quite extreme. I hope you find answers soon, especially with summer right around the corner. Keeping you in my thoughts… Thanks for visiting, Krista

  • dana
    Posted at 22:32h, 12 March Reply

    wow….i would never have connected the fact that i am always cold to my bipolar! it’s become a running joke at work that i’m always cold and have my heater going when everyone else is a-ok or even too warm. i take seroquel so maybe that’s why. i’m going to ask my doc to check my thyroid next visit to ease my mind. thank you for posting this…i feel a little less alone 🙂

  • Nsapoo77
    Posted at 21:19h, 04 March Reply

    Interesting to hear of you being cold. I went thru a very hot stage then changed bipolar med and then I was so cold I couldn’t get enough clothing on. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia last year and they changed my meds. I am so hot most of the time that even naked in air conditioning isn’t cool enough. I love summer time but just can not handle the heat. Thanks for sharing your stories I love to read that I am not the only one out there with some of these conditions.

    • krista-lee-pfeiffer
      Posted at 14:37h, 07 March Reply

      Thanks for visiting and sharing your experiences as well. Sorry to hear of your fibro diagnosis. That’s something that’s been brought up as a possibility with me too. I’ve noticed a commonality between bipolar and fibro, no? Anyhow, I hope you are managing well. And again, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment! -Krista

  • Blayne Clarke
    Posted at 14:18h, 15 February Reply

    Hello.

    I have bipolar disorder. I tend to drink hot tea every morning. I wonder if that would help.

    I think if the docs don’t have any solutions then you might want to explore alternative and complementary treatments.

    Cold body is more reason to soak in the summer sun!

    Take care.

    Sincerely,

    Blayne

  • OrganisedPauper
    Posted at 11:44h, 08 November Reply

    I’m Bipolar and have heat intolerance. I dread Summer. It’s unbearable.I rarely leave the house in Summer I also have Fibromyalgia which can cause temperature deregulation. Occasionally I feel too hot, but I’m actually cold. I know I’m in real trouble then. My fingers turn white and I feel extremely ill.

    • krista-lee-pfeiffer
      Posted at 13:07h, 08 November Reply

      Oh goodness. I don’t have to contend with heat intolerance too. You poor thing. Not being able to leave the house very often during summer would be tough. And that last part is scary. I’ve never heard of that. Sounds like you know about body temperature deregulation too well.

      Take care! And thanks for reading and taking the time to leave a comment,
      -Krista

      • OrganisedPauper
        Posted at 13:11h, 08 November

        Thanks. The plus side is I like winter. 🙂

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