Do I Have Bipolar Dsorder?


Hello doctor, I’m a 16 year old girl, studying in Dubai. I have been noticing few rapid changes in my behavior. I was usually a very happy person, didn’t have any sort of tensions, nothing at all. I used to excel in my academics, take part in many activities, but recently I find my self very withdrawn, not interested in activities that I used to enjoy a lot, not even interested in talking to my friends or my parents. I feel very sad, as if I have lost a part of me, I also become very irritated with my friends and my parents. They tell me that I’ve changed a lot, I can feel the change myself. I’m literally struggling to pay attention in class, I find it very difficult to relate to the things being taught. I feel very safe in my room locked up. I don’t feel comfortable in the presence of many people. I get very angry for unnecessary things. I often feel that I’m going to die, I feel an urge to die. I feel very useless. It seems as though I lost the very purpose of my existence. My family has a history of mental distress. My great grand mother was treated for mania. My mom is currently being treated for Bipolar Disorder. Doctor, please help me. I don’t know whether I need help or not. Hoping to receive a reply from you. Thank you very much for your time.

This Disclaimer applies to the Answer Below
  • Dr. Schwartz responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
  • Dr. Schwartz 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. Schwartz to people submitting questions.
  • Dr. Schwartz, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. Dr. Schwartz 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.

I am very pleased to respond to your question. First, let me thank you for your very thorough description of your feelings and experiences. It helps me respond to you.

Because you and I have never met it is impossible for me to give you a diagnosis. However, I can make some comments about possibilities. For example, Bipolar Disorder can be inherited. That means that if your mother and grandmother had it then there is a chance that you may have it also. However, this may not be the case.

Those who come from families where a mother or father has a Bipolar Disorder may have Major Depression without Bipolar Disorder. Therefore, it is possible that you could have a Bipolar Disorder, or you could have Major Depression or you could have Dysthymia and that is another type of depression and also very unpleasant. It is not unusual for teenagers to experience depression whether their families have it or not.

The main point I want to make is that YES, YOU DO NEED HELP. I want to urge you to speak to your parents so that you can be seen, diagnosed and treated, probably by a psychiatrist. I am not aware of the types of mental health services available in Dubai although I know it is a very advanced nation. Your mother is being treated and I see no reason why you cannot be as well. If there are therapists there I would suggest that you get psychotherapy along with psychiatric medications.

You are so young and you have your entire life ahead of you. Today, when there is so much excellent help for people with all types of disorders, there is no reason for you to continue suffering. There is every reason for you to be able to get back to your own self and start enjoying school, activities and friends again.

So, please, talk to your parents and have them bring you to a psychiatrist or medical doctor and begin getting the help you need and deserve.

Best of Luck

More "Ask Dr. Schwartz" View Columnists