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Does My Husband Have Bipolar Although The Doctors Said He Doesn't?

Question:

My husband and I have always had a difficult argumentative relationship. Eight Years ago he was so low, that we went through relationship counselling but it was more about him. However this helped us. Two Years ago he became clinically depressed and admitted into the priory. He then became the house husband but went back to playing poker and drinking at night, which affected the children. He is now back in another job and things improved for a while but I see him slipping again. I am told he doesn’t have bipolar but at times he is the life and soul, the reason I fell in love with him, and others he is on a downward spiral. He is sometimes reckless with spending. When he is like that he says that I am to blame for everything, and he gets angry at me and the kids all the time. The best time was when he was on mood stabilizers but he says he doesn’t need them. My instinct tells me he has Bipolar II but the doctors tell me otherwise. Can you advise?

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Answer:

The doctors who treat your husband would know best about his diagnosis. However, there are a couple of problems that shine through your comments that I can talk about.

For one, you report that your husband drinks. If he does have a mood disorder, and it does not have to be bipolar, he could have major depression or dysthymia, then alcohol will make it much worse. In fact, alcohol usually makes things worse for many families whether they have a diagnosis or not. Alcohol can affect mood, make some users angry and complicate lives.
It appears to me that he would be best off not drinking. However, he has to come to know that himself and it is not easy to make a person see that they may have a drinking problem.

You also report that your husband gambles. Now, lots of people enjoy playing poker or other card games with friends and neighbors without it being a problem. However, you report that he is careless with money and, I am guessing, he looses money in gambling.

Gambling, drinking, depression, anger and blaming you: all of these add up to serious problems. I do not think this is a matter of finding a diagnosis for him but of both of you heading back into marriage therapy so that you an work on your problems again.

The fact is that the last time you went to counseling together it really helped. This was true even though you report that it was mostly about him. I would urge the two of you to return to marriage counseling. My suggestion is that you point out to him that the two of you are having problems again. I would suggest that you avoid blaming him and avoid giving him a diagnosis but stress the importance of counseling for the marriage and the children.

Best of Luck

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