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Does this sound like Bipolar Disorder ?



New member
Oct 15, 2012
Hi there, just looking for answers and hoped maybe someone can identify with what I'm about to say. It concerns my husband. Since childhood he has always been 2bored ", his mother has always "joked" abount how he could never content himself from an early age, always on the go. This is still the case and getting worse and he is 48 years old. He has to be doing something and cannot relax. can't read or concentrate on television for any length of time. at about 17 years of age he started gambling and became addicted and now attends gamblers annymous. His gambling has progressed from small amounts to puting thousands on a credit card over the internet. His drinking is spiraling out of control. He starts drinking and can't stop till he almost passes out. when drunk he is very verbally abusive, saying very hurtful things. He also has a fixation with porn and has used porn chatlines and internet. When on holiday once he was drinking a lot and started threatning to go and get a prostitute to come to our appartment because he has such an urge to have sex with someone other than me. its not that we don't have a decent sex life but nothing is enough for him.
This sounds like he is like this all the time but it seems to go in cycles. he can be a very different person when feeling "well". He is a very helpful, caring, and sentimental man when things are going well. He can go for long periods, months at a time when we have good times. He also has periods of feeling very low and with low self esteem. A feeling of hopelessness and uselessness.
He says sometimes he has a churning feeling in his stomach and racing thoughts. He Takes on major DIY projects but never seems to finish anything , resulting in every room in the house being unfinished because, due to the mood swings he can't motivate himself to get things done. He Can't sit down and chill. The only time he is relaxed is when asleep.Recently I have been diagnosed with MS and our eldest daughter has been having mental health issues and I feel that when there is any sort of crisis he can't cope and goes off the rails. He is now talking about divorce.This worries me because I think he would be throwing his whole life away,loose his family and friends and I fear he would spiral out of control with his drinking and gambling and end up losing his job.I love him, despite his illness, because of who he is inside, it would break my heart to see him "self destruct".
He has seen shrinks and psychologists but they don't seem to be getting anywhere. They hve given him anti depressants which help a bit. There is a history of mental health problems in his family. His cousin is schizophrenic and his nephew, aged 30, has multiple addictions and has never held a job down and spends his benefits feeding addictions. Is there any evidence that these things run in families. ?

Sorry this post is so long but i really need help.

Maz147 xx

Sorry I have gone on so long but I really need help


Well-known member
Jan 5, 2011
Hiya Maz and :welcome: to the forum.

Wow, you have a hell of a lot going on. I am surprised you haven't had a breakdown yourself. I do fully understand you wanting to stay with him - my husband is an alcoholic and people keep saying for me to leave him, but I know the wonderful person in there.

Initially reading your post, I thought this is addiction gone mad, but when you put the rest of the pieces in place, I did think there may be something to what you are saying. Obviously, neither I nor anyone else on this forum, even if they say they are a doctor, can assess or diagnose your husband on here. But I think it is certainly something to consider.

May I suggest you keep a mood diary, and write some from what you remember in the past. If he is bipolar, antidepressants alone are lethal. They will send him high, and sometimes into orbit. If he is bipolar then he urgently needs a mood stabiliser as well as the anti depressant. Even if he isn't bipolar, a mood stabiliser is possibly a good thing as it can even out a person a little.

Ask him if you can go with him to the pdoc (psychiatrist) and make a list of all the points about his behaviour you wish to raise. Put the addictions last, as they can side track the issues here and you want them to hear about the other behaviours first. Look up bipolar, and not just on the internet because I have found the internet has very rigid and formulaic approach to the signs and symptoms. If you want to go furuther, the book "Bipolar the ultimate guide" is very good. However, before going that far maybe try to see the pdoc first.

If it is possible, maybe, try to sit him down and let him know what you have seen. Perhaps your daughter could also help here. Ask him if he can see any of the points you raise. Bipolar is often not diagnosed early as it is a harder one to diagnose and gets missed. I am 56 and was only diagnosed age 53. Looking back, it was bloody clear, but I carried on thinking it was my personality and I had to just deal with it.

The mood diary can be on a points system. We often say have a plus 3 and a minus 3. Plus 3 is Manic +, 0 is stable and minus 3 is severely depressed. Some people use a chart and, in my case, I get my family to tell me when I am going out of control by saying, "Mum, you are plus 2 and rising" etc. You might want a more subtle scoring system. If possible, get him to join in, as depression is hard to guage from the outside.

It might not be bipolar, it might be something utterly different. I am not saying it is that. Borderline Personality Disorder, for instance, can look like Bipolar to people. As for things running in famillies, the jury is out on that one. Many people say that mental illness is not chemically based, so cannot be genetic. But also there is evidence that it does run in families. But that could be because people are brought up by people who are mentally ill and so on.

I hope that might help. Remember, I am NOT an expert at all. The addictions could be more personality based - and there is a treatment called DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy) which can help with that. It is hard work and he would have to want to change.

Take care xxx
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