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Q:  hello, im in a pretty serious relationship and i think i may be bipolar.
one minute, im extremely happy and the next im yelling and very mad. its
nothing my girlfriend did, im just mad about something else and i end up mad at her. what should i do? it just messes up the relationship, and i dont want to mess that up. what are some steps i can go through to stop this problem? i want it to be over. thanks

Dear S,

     Select a physician or psychiatrist who is knowledgeable about bipolar
disorder and be relentless in getting the correct diagnosis.  Communicate openly about all of your behaviors and symptoms.  Choose a psychiatrist or psychologist who is persistent in getting as much accurate information from you as possible.

     Remember there are many reasons why bipolar disorder can be hard to distinguish from other disorders.  Moods can vary for any number of reasons which can include hormones, personal stress, personality disturbances, diseases of the brain, or ingestion of drugs or alcohol.  Seek out professional diagnosis as described above.

     Adopt a healthy lifestyle.  Get sufficient rest, regular exercise, eat a balanced diet, work at managing your stress level, and avoid alcohol or other drugs.  Research has shown that that individuals with bipolar disorder AND normal stress who are able to maintain a daily and regular routine are better able to avoid relapses in their disorder and maintain overall health. 
Good luck.

David Schafer, M.Ed.
Staff Psychologist

Published June, 2006

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