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Parttime Bipolar Girlfriend

Question:

Anne, I have had a parttime relationship with a bipolar girl for 4 years, she is 19 years younger than me. I am wondering if bipolar disorder is why we are together a few months then apart for a few months,or is it just her not being sure of what she wants? I have dumped her repeatedly over the years, but she keeps coming back,usually when she is euphoric. What do you think?

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Answer:

People with Bipolar Affective Disorder will swing between states of mania (euphoric, happy, high mood) and depression. The rate at which individual patients swing between high and low states varies. While some will take months to move from an elevated to a depressed and back to an elevated state, others will traverse this course in weeks, or even days in some instances. People in the manic state tend to be impulsive and excitement-seeking and even promiscuous. People in the depressive state tend to isolate and withdraw from others. There is certainly a strong possibility that your off-again, on-again relationship is closely linked to your girlfriend’s mood swings. I’m a little alarmed by your letter, in that your curiosity about your girlfriend’s disorder doesn’t seem to include your interest in her well-being. It is not healthy for your girlfriend to have these swings. Serious problems can occur including psychosis (a loss of touch with reality) and suicidal feelings and acts (or so Dr. Dombeck tells me). Medical treatment is in order, as prescribed by a qualified Psychiatrist, to help even out the mood swings. The best thing you could do for your girlfriend would be to get her to see a Psychiatrist (if she hasn’t already seen one), or to remind her to take her medication as prescribed (if she has seen one).

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