Could My Sister Have Bipolar Disorder
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Q:  Could My Sister Have Bipolar Disorder

I have a sister who is currently in jail, she was staying at my grandmas house and started banging on the neighbors doors just screaming crazy things.  She also has outbreaks of anger and property distruction. She also goes days without sleeping. Any way I was told by a counsoulor that she was suffering from bipolar disorder with psycosis and schizafrinic tendencys. She says she was on esctasy. Do you think she could be bipolar

Dear Ms. Y' -- 
Sounds like the counselor thinks so.  If this person actually saw your sister (i.e. for therapy) then bipolar disorder would be the "working diagnosis" -- that is, the one that everyone should be going by until there was reason to think otherwise, or another professional has the opportunity to do another interview and arrive at a new diagnostic opinion.  More than 50% of people with bipolar disorder use drugs and/or alcohol, so the drug use doesn't change the diagnostic situation at all: could be drug use alone that caused the behavior; could be bipolar disorder alone ; or statistically most likely in this circumstance, it could have been both. 

Dr. Phelps

Published May, 2002 

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