Not Sure Brother is Bipolar
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Q:  Not Sure Brother is Bipolar

My 17 year old brother has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder after he got in some trouble. I'm not completly convenced that this is his problem, mostly because never before was he anything but a normal teen. He had highs and lows but nothing to bad, i'm scared that maybe they rushed. I've searched the web over and he really didn't seem to fit most of the signs. Is there a disorder that seems like bipolar? How do I help him if this is what he has? How can i make him feel good about himself and this disorder? I need lots of help cause i love him and want him to be happy and healthy.
thank you,

Dear Laurie -- 
Bipolar disorder can be so subtle that you're right, it could be diagnosed when it isn't really there.  Or, it could be that it's there and still subtle, so only a really skilled doctor could recognize it.  Or, it could be pretty obvious except that your brother's not telling you what's going on with his feelings and thoughts, that he did tell the doctor, and that's where this diagnosis came from.  It would be hard for you to know which, at this point.  

If you haven't found it yet, try my site on bipolar II, which can shade all the way to "normal" along a spectrum of severity of symptoms from obvious to "not there".  

Dr. Phelps

Published March, 2002 


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