My husband was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1976 and has had four manic episodes since that time. He is NOT a rapid "cycler" and does not take maintenance medications. Our problem is that when he appears "hypermanic" he, of course, doesn't feel as though he is and asks for some specific "TEST" to prove that he is entering the manic state-I don't know of any "test" which can prove one is manic other than observation and if you do, I would appreciate you sharing that information as I would find it very helpful during this cruial and often difficult period.

Dear Ms. P --
Below is a copy of the reply I offered two others just today with a similar problem.  In your circumstances, there is a more direct answer but I fear it wouldn't work as "proof": most folks entering a manic phase can talk themselves and even others out of just about any "proof" one offers.  But if while he's not manic you get him to agree that if someone else besides you (e.g. someone he really trusts to have no interests except his in mind at the time) fills out the form and it's "positive" for manic symptoms, that he'll agree to go get treatment then, that would be a nifty arrangement.  Some folks will follow their own agreement set up in advance (for example, at least in Oregon, there's the "mental health directive" that works like this -- a formal legal document).  So here's the "test".  And now here's the other reply:


I've asked the Bipolar World folks (Colleen says she's going to take this one on personally) to put together an essay on this for the many, many people who face circumstances such as yours.  Look for that.  In the meantime, read three answers I've offered others who faced a like problem: in the archive, see

Getting help for people who don't want help

Family Problems from Bipolar Spouse and

Bipolar Husband Stops Lithium

Dr. Phelps



Published January, 2001