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Bipolar II Misdiagnosed?



New member
Apr 18, 2019
Hi all. I’m writing to get some opinions on a confusing situation that has come up. I’ve suffered from depression off and on for practically my whole adult life, but my mental health situation has changed in the past couple of years. As for the depression, I’ve taken all kinds of anti-depressants over the years, but they never worked very well (indication of bipolar disorder maybe?). But to my knowledge I’ve never had a manic episode. That all changed 18 months ago.

I suffered the symptoms of a full-blown hypomanic episode that ticked all the boxes. Awake for up to 72 hours at a stretch, couldn’t stop talking, delusions of grandeur, all of it. This went on for at least a couple weeks, maybe more. I wound up in the hospital for 6 days where they brought me down.

I informed them at the time that I had been drinking large quantities of alcohol. I also suffered symptoms of withdrawal unrelated to the manic thing, which they also addressed. What the doctors DIDN’T know, or at least weren’t fully aware of, was that I was also taking xanax along with the alcohol. I’d been hoarding it for some time, and had started taking large amounts.

That would seem to account for my severe withdrawal symptoms, but what a psychologist recently suggested was that that xanax/alcohol mix could also have caused the mania (rather than bipolar disorder itself).

Since that time, I had one more what I would call minor hypomanic episode. Awake for a couple days at a stretch, and some hints of that ramping up feeling of boundless energy, but nothing so severe as the last time. That, too, was accompanied by alcohol/xanax withdrawal (I’ve also sought help for the addiction problem and it’s under control now). Other than that, no hypomania in my life that I know of. I also don’t engage in inappropriate shopping, never really have. I have engaged in a lot of reckless sex and, of course, substance abuse.

So, the question is, could that set of circumstances lead to a misdiagnosis of Bipolar II that I now have?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts. I’m very curious about this.

For the record, I’m currently on a mood stabilizer that seems to work well, so bipolar or not, I seem to have found medicine that works better for me than anti-depressants.


Well-known member
Sep 27, 2013
Just tell your doc now, have a discussion, Xanax is something I am not familiar with but I guess you could say not everyone taking it with alcohol is going to have Mania, so if bipolar this could be a trigger.

For me I was on sertraline years ago, and a few months later switched into full blown mania psychosis and diagnosed type 1. I discussed with pdocs many times and I finally accepted my diagnosis taking me a couple of years as I always blamed that drug! The best explanation one pdoc said was that if depression then the SSRI would have lifted this but not sent me high. With a more benign form of bipolar this could have made the switch into Mania easier alongside other external stress I had the episode.

I've also been fine on a mood stabilisor since. When you next see a pdoc talk it through with them :)