Well, I’m only 19 years old, but I’ve had a pretty eventful life … (I’ve retracted the details from this question as they seemed very persona. In a nut shell this person had a pattern of very self destructive habits, had suffered abuse, suffered from anxiety and mood swings, etc.) … Please help me! Are my symptoms signs of bipolar, anxiety?? Or is it just all in my head?
I’m not so much a fan of this question. Unfortunately, we get it more often than we’d like. In the past I’ve responded with recommending they seek the help of a trained professional, but today I want to tell you WHY I give that response.
The majority of the time, each question involves a description of symptoms very similar to bipolar disorder; frequent mood swings, anxiety, depression, and even somethings that could be considered signs of mania. But are these symptoms REALLY symptoms of bipolar disorder? I don’t know. Unfortunately I’m only in my second semester of psych classes and far from a trained professional.
There is a key word I also want to point out when I say, “I highly recommend meeting with a trained professional.” The thing is, no one, not even a doctor, can give a diagnosis without meeting with a patient one on one. Part of what goes into a diagnosis it observing a person’s mannerisms, not just hearing about one’s symptoms. A professional will pay attention to what the patient isn’t saying. They will also have a list of questions to go over in order to differentiate what diagnosis to give.
I think our readers sometimes forget that bipolar disorder is not the ONLY psychological disorder out there. There are actually at least a handful of disorders that have similar symptoms to bipolar. Sometimes a person can even be diagnosed with more than one disorder.
I also do understand that maybe readers are just looking for an opinion. I understand that. But even if we say, “Yeah, you’re totally bipolar!” we wouldn’t be able to prescribe you meds or start you on a treatment program. There’d really be no benefit to you to hear what we think about your symptoms. And if turns out that your symptoms are indeed bipolar or some other disorder, you’re are really going to need treatment! This alone is reason enough to seek the advice of a medical professional.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you feel you are experiencing abnormal bouts of depression, mania, anxiety, etc. it’s important to seek proper help immediately. The risks of forgoing treatment can literally be life-threatening. While doing research is important to learn about an illness, getting treatment before it’s too late is even more crucial.
If you are thinking about harming yourself, or know someone who is, we advise you to get help immediately.
You can get help by doing one of the following:
- Call your doctor.
- Call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room to get immediate help or ask a friend or family member to help you do these things.
- Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255); TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889) to talk to a trained counselor.
Make sure you or the suicidal person is NEVER left alone.