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Bipolar Disorder (Children and Adolescents)

Seeking Assistance in Identifying Bipolar Disorder

10/24/2005

Question:

So, here`s my question. I`m 21 years old and I`m starting to recieve comments from my fiancee and her parents about being bipolar. Now, to explain this, my fiancee is bipolar. Her parents had to go through her getting off of her meds and getting back on. Well, I`ve had other people tell me that I`m bipolar. My aunt is bipolar. And my fiancee`s parents are saying that they see all of the same signs in me that they saw in her. Once they started asking me these questions, I soon started to realize that I had a big chance that I might be bipolar. My moods change ALL OF THE TIME. I could be hugging my fiancee and being nice one moment, and then, without anything happening, I`ll just turn on her. And I love this girl to death. So, why would I want to do that to her?! I`ve been diagnosed with depression before, but never recieved any medication. I have trouble paying attention. My moods change with the wind (I carry a Sharpie marker with me everywhere and when I notice that I`m starting to act a little different, I mark a dot on my hand...my average per day is 12-20 dots). I`m depressed for weeks and then that`s interrupted by a few days of me feeling like I can go out and do anything; only to return back to depression. I break into sudden "crying fits" and then, within an hour or so, I`m okay. Now, truthfully, I didn`t think I needed any help. I`ve been like this for years and I`ve always seemed to cope. But to see my fiancee`s face when I`ve suddenly gone off on her...that breaks my heart. I`ve never really had a long-lasting relationship with any one girl, so my moods haven`t ever been a subject. But now, suddenly, they are. Her and her parents are starting to make me understand that I need help. But my REAL question is, I`ve been delaying going to the doctor about this. I guess it`s because I`m still not sure if I need help or not. But they keep pressing me and pressing me. Should I go to the doctor and start going onto meds? And if so, should I got straight to a psychiatrist, or our family doctor? Thank you for any help you can give me. I fear that if I don`t start gaining control of this, it might damage/end my engagement. Thanks, again.

Answer:

Hello and thank you for your excellent question,

It sounds like you are certainly having difficulties with your moods and are concerned about their effects on your life. Whether you have bipolar disorder or something else I can't say; however, I would strongly encourage you to seek a psychological assessment as a first step to seeking treatment. The only way to find out if someone has bipolar or any psychiatric disorder is to get a comprehensive and detailed psychological assessment from a trained mental health professional. I would suggest calling your local university, community mental health center or National Association of Mentally Ill chapter to ask for names, locations and phone numbers of mental health professionals who have expertise in this area.

I hope that helps.

Best wishes!

Related Resources:

National Alliance on Mental Illness: State/Local
National Mental Health Association

For more information:

Go to the Bipolar Disorder (Children and Adolescents) health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Nicholas   Lofthouse, PhD Nicholas Lofthouse, PhD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University