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Bipolar Disorder (Children and Adolescents)

Anxiety, Bipolar, Mixture, or Something Else?

10/13/2008

Question:

I am a 19 year old male who has been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder type 2 but can`t shake off the feeling it may be something else.

As a child I was always very happy, laughing at anything for no reason, doing all my work at school, asking the teacher for more, getting angry when things didn`t go my way but I never had a problem with attention and following instrutions.

As I got older and progressed through school I started to get bullied [only name calling] which made me very nervous, I could not concentrate much as I was always staring around thinking people were staring at me, talking about me and laughing at me. Even during break and lunch times I would do the same.

I would never get up and read at the front of class because I would shake badly with a fast heart rate and a feeling like was going to faint.

I started getting poor grades and the bullying got worse over time and as I started high school i started not going to school because of fear and it was an actual relief when I didn`t go.

I left school with no qualifications, couldn`t find work and couldn`t get all the bad thoughts of the bullies out my head.

It drove me to the point of cutting my self to relieve the pain and it did but for only so long. Then my first suicide attempt came, I walked to the end of the harbour and was about to jump off until something told me not to but my lows still went on and on.

Out of the blue some time later I started feeling very good about myself again like I did when i was a child but more, I became more interested in sex, spent all my money on dvd`s, had a flight of idea`s of what I wanted to do but I was only doing one thing at a time and if I didnt finish it I would feel like I had never accomplished anything. I got angry alot and started destroying things, ate and slept very little, felt invincible as I was doing everything.

This went on for about 5-6 days then my mood went down again to feeling worthless, guilty, sleeping too much, had thoughts of death, didn`t see the point of getting out of bed, had no hope for the future, didn't talk to people much, prefered to be alone, feared going outside because I thought everyone was against me, even my own family and friends.

Then after going to see what was wrong as it caused so much stress to myself and my family I was diagnosed as Bipolar 2 in early 2008.

My lows typically goes on for weeks and my highs go on for days but there has been times where my mood can change several times in a single day.

Even to this day I still have problems going out when I feel low because of a fear of rejection, humiliation and the thought of being watched all the time.

I am currently on depakote 250 mg 3 times daily and prozac 20 mg once a day, I have seen a bit of an improvement but my moods are still abit bad.

Is my diagnosis right or is it something else?

Answer:

I am sorry to learn about your symptoms. I do not feel comfortable offering you a diagnosis based on the information that you provided.

That said, it is possible that symptoms like yours represent a serious mood disorder, such as bipolar disorder and possibly a co-occurring anxiety disorder. Since you are still symptomatic, you should discuss your current symptoms and concerns with your psychiatrist - and if you have questions about your current diagnoses and treatment, ask for a referral to another board-certified psychiatrist for a second medical opinion.

If you feel that you are unsafe or suicidal, of course - go to your emergency room. Hope this helps.

For more information:

Go to the Bipolar Disorder (Children and Adolescents) health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Stephen F Pariser, MD Stephen F Pariser, MD
Faculty Emeritus
Professor of Psychiatry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University