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Bipolar Disorder/Are these signs of depression or bi-polar disorder?

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Question
My now ex-boyfriend had been exhibiting some worrying symptoms over the last 3 years that i attributed to his personality traits. However, i feel like there is something more to these symptoms that is now making me fret that i didnt do something about it!

- He changes between sleeping an awful lot (sometimes 12-15 hours a day) yet still feels lethargic.  Yet other times he can go a few days without sleep.
- He lacks motivation to do anything, then sometimes he as an overkill situation when he's jumping all over the place.
- He constantly changes his mind on everything - especially his career prospects which change almost everyday.
- Sometimes he has a very short temper when told simple things like to put something away or take out the trash, he'll snap and throw a tantrum towards even the most kind of people. Other times everything is completely fine and theres no issue.
- He becomes very motivated to exercise and go to the gym and loose weight, then looses interest, but then regains interest within the span of a week.
- His weight fluctuates by 5-15 kilograms almost every month
- He'll drink himself into a state for a few days and not get out of bed.
- He broke up with me even though he was crying his eyes out because he didn't want me to leave, but then kept telling me i needed to find someone 'better' and that he was a burden on me.
- He recognised he felt he has this other side to him that’s very dark and feels like this side has been coming out more often – he even mentioned googling mental disorders.


Do you think there is something mentally going on here?  What can I do to to help him? We only broke up a week ago, so it's all still very raw. But I need to be there and support him either way because he doesnt seem mentally safe or healthy.  Any suggestions?

Answer
Hi Rachel . . .

The behaviors you describe certainly may be symptoms of bipolar disorder. They also could be related to other problems such a substance abuse. The only way an accurate diagnosis can be made would for him to be examined by a psychiatrist. Such examinations are most accurate when the psychiatrist has an opportunity to get the "outside story" from someone such as you, in addition to the "inside story" that he can present.

Best regards . . .

Ivan

Bipolar Disorder

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Ivan Goldberg, M.D.

Expertise

I am a psychiatrist/psychopharmacologist with many years of expereince in treating individuals with depressions, manic-depression (Bipolar Disorder), other mood disorders,. I am especially interested in the psychopharmacologic treatment of individuals with so called "treatment-resistant" syndromes.

Experience

I have been on the staff of the National Institute of Mental Health, Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. I am currently in full-time private practice in New York City.

A.B. Johns Hopkins University
M.D. N.Y.U. College of Medicine

I am the creator of Depression Central:http://www.psycom.net/depression.central.html

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