Am I surely Bipolar??

by Sonia

See I had this experience

Doctors in US diagnosed me to be Bipolar, and doctors in India said that maybe I had a manic episode due to overwhelming stress, which may not necessarily occur again.
I am confused now. I have no past manic or depression history. My question is that does a single manic episode qualify for Bipolar disorder, and can it be nothing else apart from that??

Ben's Response:

You will find different opinions about this. Technically a single manic episode lasting more than a week can warrant the diagnosis. In my opinion, the only difference between a single manic episode, and Bipolar Disorder, is the label. A person with this diagnosis is not always destined to have recurring episodes of mania. Stress can certainly trigger a manic episode in some people.

The experience you described in your previous post has much in common with what many people report in "Spiritual Emergence." Often this is nearly indistinguishable from a bipolar "manic" episode and much of that depends on your point of view, your beliefs, and whether or not you call it a pathological experience.

Personally I would consider what your Indian doctor says as just as valid, if not more, than the U.S. doctor's opinion.

I have sometimes seen people who were diagnosed repeatedly with Bipolar, medicated to the extreme, given electro-convulsive (shock) treatments and so on, for decades, only to eventually get off all of it, decide they are not bipolar after all, and remain stable, high functioning, and clear headed thereafter.

While this is not always the case, and some people really end up in a serious crisis without medication, I think it is very important to consider all sides and not rush to accept a psychiatric diagnosis for the rest of your life.

Take care, and be well,

Ben Schwarcz

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