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Does my friend have bipolar disorder?

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Old 04-28-2011, 12:50 AM   #1
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Does my friend have bipolar disorder?

I'm wondering if my friend has bipolar or some other mood issues like borderline personality disorder. Here are her symptoms/traits :

- she is an emotional and caring/supportive person with a fun personality
- I have recently seen her in a quick hypomanic episode (getting angry and yelling at her kid in public), then suddenly depressed for a few minutes (eating sugar things like cotton candy, when her kid said reminded her she has diabetes she said she doesn't care because she could finally RIP)
- she seems very happy at work all the time, eventhough I can tell she is kind of hiding all the stress at home/work (she admits she was stressed at home/work)
- one of her kids has some symptoms of bipolar/ADHD (needs to be at the centre of attention, impulsive, moody, etc)
- she gets along very well with me and understands me well, does not think I'm weird (I'm bipolar and ADHD)
- she has said her husband is weird, and the other day mentioned that her kids are weird
- she was very shy when she was younger, and only had one friend throughout highschool/college
- she does seem a little creative at times, always having something to say to me
- she is late to work sometimes, sometimes late back from lunch
- she only needs 5 hours of sleep per night
- she seems quite productive, working full time as a supervisor and taking care of her 3 young kids, she also lives 1 hour from workplace
- only had one husband, never divorced and she is now 43
- she is also a shopaholic (impulsive purchases)
- always yelling and critizing her children

She knows about my bipolar and ADHD, but seems to be unaware of her mood symptoms above. I do not know if she has racing thoughts but I will ask her next time (she does not seem to have rapid speech, at least not that I have noticed). I know she does not have ADHD, does not zone out when reading.

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Old 06-03-2011, 06:43 AM   #2
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Re: Does my friend have bipolar disorder?

Well she surely needs to get some help because she sounds unstable. It is good of you to be there for her because she needs all the support she can get. Good luck to you!!

Old 06-03-2011, 08:23 AM   #3
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Re: Does my friend have bipolar disorder?

Thanks. Apparently she just got a divorce last week, so stress is definitely a factor. I wonder if her pre-diabetes is contributing to the mood issues as well. I guess she doesn't have bipolar but maybe some childhood abuse issues? Are most mood issues due to childhood abuse?

Old 06-03-2011, 09:36 AM   #4
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Re: Does my friend have bipolar disorder? Abuse is not a factor in most Psychiatric conditions. They are chemical imbalances that aren't effected by outside influence. Of course extra stress, tension, fear, etc. can make the symptoms more profound, but they don't have anything to do with the actual disease or why you have it.


Old 06-06-2011, 05:56 PM   #5
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Re: Does my friend have bipolar disorder?

I subscribe to theory that current and past stress can at the very least exacerbate existing mental health issues. Can stress (like childhood abuse) cause the problems? I don't think science knows enough to say. Even if any given mental illness is purely the result of chemical imbalance, I would argue that it's reasonable to think that life factors can affect those chemicals. As an example, fear & stress release epinephrine - the fight or flight hormone. It's physiologically not compatible with the more relaxed/ positive mood that results from dopamine.

It's important for ill people to take necessary meds. It's also important to address behavioral/ environmental issues. I hope your friend is able to move forward and start to get better. And good luck to you as you manage your own illness and try to help her

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