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04/30/2009 10:11 AM

Are these symptoms of bipolar?

JRCash
Posts: 8
Member

I have been trying to figure out for years if my dad was bipolar (he died 20+ years ago).

He was successful at his job and, some of the time, was nice and functional at home. He wasn't a drinker and didn't abuse drugs. But the tiniest thing would set him off into a rage and he would get out of control. I never knew when that was going to happen.

One time, he was driving my mom and me to pick up my brother at the airport, and took a wrong turn. He started raging, screaming at us, and finally stopped the car in the middle of the street and got out and left us there.

Another time, he threatened me with a gun because I said I didn't feel like going to a family function.

He would scream and yell and tell us that we were no good, horrible, and that we were ruining his life. Then he would go off alone. By the next day, he would be acting nice again, but never apologized.

I was petrified of him because of this, and have struggled with relationships because of it. I have been in therapy for years (and still am). My main question is, were my dad's symptoms consistent with bipolar disorder? My mom did say that he was depressed at times, and that he had a prescription for an antianxiety med. Bear in mind, this was in the 1970s and 1980s. At work, he was “the best guy in the world,” and could be at home as well!

Thanks in advance for any insight.

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04/30/2009 10:33 AM
Snoopers2009
Snoopers2009  
Posts: 1079
Member

It's almost impossible for a lay person to diagnosis someone else... well, technically it is impossible, but here's my two cents worth:

He doesn't sound bipolar to me but he could have been suffering from any number of other things. He could have had major depression, for instance, and/or anxiety issues. He could have had a rough childhood that left him with an inability to cope and manage his own emotions, or... again... any number of other things.

Look up the criteria of bipolar disorder... You're describing rage but not periods of extreme highs and extreme lows. I personally don't think - from your description - that the diagnosis fits.

Hope this helps.


04/30/2009 01:21 PM
neondreams
neondreams  
Posts: 7297
VIP Member

I'm not a pdoc, but based on what you've described, it sounds like your late father either had major depressive disorder or agitated depression. Unless he also experienced periods of mania and depression, it's very unlikely that he had bipolar.

04/30/2009 01:37 PM
zinnia
zinniaPosts: 3990
VIP Member

just another opinion: your dad may have had highs and lows that just weren't so pronounced that people noticed so much, especially if he was a great guy certain times and in certain situations. there's a lesser version of bipolar called cyclothymia, which he may have had. the reason i say that is because the rage sounds like it could have been part of a mixed episode. i haven't done the things your dad did, but when i'm in a mixed state (the WORST part of bp for me) i feel a lot of rage that's hard to control.

like i said-just another opinion.


04/30/2009 02:54 PM
neondreams
neondreams  
Posts: 7297
VIP Member

Z is right. Cyclothymia wasn't made into an official diagnosis until recently, so even if your father sought treatment back in the 70s and 80s, he wouldn't have been diagnosed correctly anyways.

Post edited by: neondreams, at: 04/30/2009 02:55 PM


04/30/2009 03:18 PM
mechjockusa
mechjockusa  
Posts: 2775
Senior Member

my mother was the same way as we grew up. at age 18 they put her away for several months, when she came out she was called bipolar. to this day she takes no more treatment. swears she is no ill.

05/01/2009 10:25 AM
JRCash
Posts: 8
Member

Thanks everyone, I appreciate the responses.

05/01/2009 10:35 AM
niecy440

My mania is irritability and severe mood swings. I don't get your typical mania that most people get. I get angry. I've never called the people I love names or physically hurt them. But I have jumped out of moving cars. Started fights with strangers & generally get very reckless with my mania. I have only one time w/good mania where I was the entertainer. Laughing, joking, & generally feeling very happy. Pdoc says my mania is the irritability and recklessness. Thank God I've been stable on meds for two years now. I am normally very easy going and friendly but when I got manic I would become very irritable and angry.

05/01/2009 08:45 PM
buhlir926
buhlir926  
Posts: 257
Member

JR Cash:

Like Zinnia said, Bipolar disorder is hard to diagnose, but I have seen much of what you describe seeing in your father, in my husband. Hypomania and mania manifest themselves differently in different people. Irritability is a big one for my husband when he is in a mixed state. I hate those because he can just get so mean. I pretty much leave him alone during those times.


05/02/2009 02:25 AM
neondreams
neondreams  
Posts: 7297
VIP Member

Irritability is one of the signs of mania. When I had my first manic/psychotic episode, I was extremely irritable and combative -- so much so that it took 6 people to literally drag me into the hospital to go IP. It is now 3 years later and I still experience irritability when I'm manic although now it occurs towards the middle of an episode.

Post edited by: neondreams, at: 05/02/2009 02:27 AM

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