Need help breaking free from addiction?
1-888-993-3112
Call 24/7 for treatment options. Ad Info & Options

Are Bipolars Abusive?

Question:

I’ve heard that bipolar people aren’t dangerous, but my Mom has bipolar disorder, and she mentally and physically abused my siblings and I. Is there some other stage to bipolar disorder that she might have?

This Disclaimer applies to the Answer Below
  • Dr. Dombeck responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
  • Dr. Dombeck intends his responses to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
  • Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
  • No correspondence takes place.
  • No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Dombeck to people submitting questions.
  • Dr. Dombeck, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. Dr. Dombeck and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
  • Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.
Answer:

There is no specific relationship between bipolar disorder and abuse perpetration, per se. Bipolar Affective Disorder (also known as Manic-Depression) is a mood disorder characterized by regular shifts in mood between depressed and manic/energized states. A person’s disposition to abuse is not a mood disorder, but rather is determined by complex and not completely understood personality, (lack of) coping skill and developmental history influences. Bipolar people can be abusive, but then, so can non-bipolar people. The above notwithstanding, the extreme mood shifts of bipolar disorder may sometimes have a disinhibiting effect on abusive impulses that would otherwise not get expressed. Also, if your mother drinks alcohol or abuses drugs (as sometimes is the case), this could also have a releasing or disinhibiting effect on her behavior. This is to say that it is possible that your mother’s bipolar disorder may have made it easier for her to be abusive towards you, even as her being bipolar probably did not cause the abuse.

<

p> You use the past-tense when speaking about this abuse you’ve experienced. I hope that you are now safely out of reach of your mother during times when she is abusive. If this is not the case – if you are still being abused by your mother, please take steps to make your situation safer! Get away from your mother when she is abusive. Tell a responsible adult, or authority figure (such as the police, a teacher, or a child protective services officer). Get your mother into treatment for her disorder(s). Also, help your mother to become treatment compliant if she is not (to the extent that this difficult task can be done). There are medicines that can diminish the mood swings and help your mother to lead a more normal life – but they only work if she takes them regularly.

More "Ask Dr. Dombeck" View Columnists

Comments
  • Anonymous-1

    I have had a difficult time with my daughter. She always "splits" with me being black. I had an occasion to where I injured my back. Dr ordered tramadol. I have never taken the drug but was taking my usual meds at night and took the pain pill. My only saving grace from my daughter's rage is to ask her to leave my home. She had come upon me sound asleep and comfortable for the first time in 2 weeks. She accused me of drinking and being abusive and now has had the answer of total estrangement from my grand daughter. Tramadol totally sucks as I discovered...I ended up in a depression for about 2weeks. No more.

Close

Call the Helpline Toll-FREE

To Get Treatment Options Now.

1-888-993-3112 100% Confidential

Get Help For You or a Loved One Here...

Click Here for More Info.

Close

Call The Toll-FREE Helpline 24/7 To Get Treatment Options Now.

100% Confidential
Get Treatment Options From Your Phone... Tap to Expand