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Does This Sound Like Bipolar?


I’m 24yrs old and have been diagnosed with depression since approx 15yrs old due to family circumstances of having an older severely disabled sister. Since approx 15 I was having trouble with depression and it affecting my appetite, mood, sleep, memory etc.

I have tried several medications, at first Citralapram and now Sertraline. At present I am fine and feel normal apart from the odd mood change, memory and concentration problems. But last year and probably the year before I did some very strange, abnormal things. I couldn’t see it then but I can now. At first I went on approx 3/4 months of binge shopping getting myself into approx £2.5k debt. My family were great and they helped me out of my debt. Then, even more out of character, I started stealing things- sometimes random things that I never wanted or even needed. And I wouldn’t use or sell these. Just hoard them. Even worse to admit, I stole money/jewellery / iPod, etc, off my friends/family and my partners family. Obviously I got found out and then partly realised what I’d done but not the abnormality of it. And I would lie lie lie until I would just get caught out. Stealing and lieing just aren’t me!!

Now 2years on I can see what I did and the consequences and just cannot believe the things that I’ve done ! I feel so ashamed and so bad. My GP upped my sertraline to 150mg late last year and I feel normal and myself now. But I’ve done some research and feel that I may suffer from Bipolar disorder?!? Which if so could explain my inappropriate actions. I just want to understand why I acted like I was as it just wasn’t me!!!

I know that you cannot give a medical diagnosis and I would need to see my GP to look into that , but does it in your opinion sound like it could be a possibility that’s what I’m suffering from?? I know I need to visit my GP but I am ashamed to do so…as I will have to admit the despicable things that I’ve done. I will go to my GP if you feel that it could be Bipolar that I am suffering from but I just don’t want to look like an idiot by suggesting it to them if its not that!? Please help me. I’m not after a diagnosis as I know that you cannot give me that- as I said before I would just like to know if you feel that the symptoms I have suffered from could possibly be explained by Bipolar?? Thanks

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Being reluctant to speak to your doctor about your symptoms is like having a fever and not reporting it because you feel ashamed. In other words, it make no sense. I have no idea whether or not you are suffering from a Bipolar Disorder. The only way to find out is to see your doctor, report the behaviors you describe here and find out if indeed this is such a disorder. It’s important because if you have a disorder of such a nature then it affects the medication that is prescribed to you.

Certainly, some of what you report could  be symptomatic of a Bipolar Disorder. The poor judgment, impulsiveness and spending certainly are found among people with this disorder. On the other hand, it is equally possible that you have ADHD, attention deficit hyperacitivity disorder. All of these behaviors would fit including the depressed feelings. In fact, the fact that the Sertaline helps is further evidence of a possible ADHD diagnosis.

I encourage you to speak to your doctor, discuss your behaviors and ask about both Bipolar and ADHD disorders. If it’s ADHD, once again, the medications will be different except for Sertraline, which is why it’s so important to find out.

Best of Luck

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