Q: Can a Family Physician Diagnose Bipolar Disorder?
My husband of three years has become increasingly verbally abusive.
I left my home for a week and returned after his plea and promise he
would seek professional help. I work for a state agency that offers services
for domestic abuse and counseling. After describing my husbands behavoir
to a counselor, I was told he could be bi-polar. After studying the
symptoms of this disorder on your website, I am convinced the counselor is
correct. Can a family physician diagnose this disorder or is it more
psychological than medical in nature?? Thank you.
Dear Ms. T'
As it seems that this "diagnosis" could be pretty subtle -- i.e.
there hasn't been anything in his behavior that was so obviously
"manic" no one could miss it -- this would be a tough call for most
primary care doctors. I've tried to help them by making available some
resources, particularly the Mood
Disorders Questionnaire (first bullet on this page; or under my main site,
as a questionnaire
in the context of making a diagnosis. You could try completing that on
your husband, and take that to your primary care doc', and see what
In addition to using your
counselor to guide you further, you might have a look at a book called The
Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to recognize it and how to respond (here
it is on Amazon with some pretty rave reviews). I haven't read it
yet but a patient of mine found it extremely helpful, as apparently did
numerous others, per the reviews.
Published August, 2001