Mood Swing / Bipolar-how to tell the difference_ Answer

Posted on Sunday, April 12th, 2015 at 3:48 am.

It really isn’t possible to do an “armchair” diagnosis of someone who is experiencing such a complicated set of mood symptoms and making lots of problematic life choices. It doesn’t sound like you are dealing with a straightforward depression or a clear-cut anxiety problem.

While I can’t tell you exactly what is going on with you, I do hear that you are suffering and you deserve both answers and relief from your misery.  What I can offer you are some questions you can ask yourself that might point you in the direction of an answer, but this is truly a situation where you will need a qualified in-person evaluation from an experienced professional therapist or counselor.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself: 1) How long have I been experiencing this unhappiness and these mood swings and has it gotten worse over time?   2) Has anyone in my immediate or extended family shown similar types of problems with impulsiveness, mood shifts, and taking unwise risks?  3)  Do I use alcohol or drugs often to try and relieve my misery or cope with my mood changes?  Am I addicted to anything, like alcohol or drugs? 4) Have I had repeated problems with holding jobs or keeping relationships?  5)  Does my anger have a destructive effect on my life?

These are some of the questions a professional psychologist or psychological evaluator would ask you to help determine more about what is actually happening with you and how you can be helped.  Drastic fluctuations in mood, frequent anger and irritability and extreme risk-taking may indicate a mood disorder, such as bipolar disorder, but may also indicate something completely different.  Trauma, dysfunction in one’s family of origin, and fundamental insecurities about one’s own identity and role in the world can sometimes lead to a similar symptom picture.

Regardless of what all of this adds up to I do think it is very important to pursue answers to your questions about what is going on with you.  It is clear that you are suffering and that you need some answers and some relief.  This is definitely too complicated a set of issues to sort out by yourself.  If you allow yourself to ask for help, you will probably get the answers you seek and strategies for improving your life functioning as well as your happiness.

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