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Penny Rayas, MFT
Penny Rayas, MFT, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  I have 20 years experience in the mental health field
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My wife has been acting not like herself for the past several

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My wife has been acting not like herself for the past several months. It seems to have started when she took herself off Zoloft. She's become stressed over not yet having a 2nd child. She's exploded at me over an unhappy marriage, bringing up things like an open marriage (which is completely against her religion and personalilty). She's been going out to a bar and drinking. She's gotten back on Zoloft and things have gotten worse. I'm pretty sure she's cheated on me. Just recently she's said the problem is her and that she wants to be "free" and have a trial separation. Does this sound like possibly bipolar II disorder? Or at least another mental impairment?

Hello there and thanks for asking JA. Even before I read your suggestion this seamed like bi-polar II or even I. Your wife has all the symptoms of hypomania and Zolaft will make a manic person even more manic.

Here are the symptoms of bipolar. Does your wife have any of those?

  • Agitation or irritation
  • Elevated mood
    • Hyperactivity
    • Increased energy
    • Lack of self-control
    • Racing thoughts
  • Inflated self-esteem (delusions of grandeur, false beliefs in special abilities)
  • Little need for sleep
  • Over-involvement in activities
  • Poor temper control
  • Reckless behavior
    • Binge eating, drinking, and/or drug use
    • Impaired judgment
    • Sexual promiscuity
    • Spending sprees
  • Tendency to be easily distracted

These symptoms of mania are seen with bipolar disorder I. In people with bipolar disorder II, hypomanic episodes involve similar symptoms that are less intense.

The depressed phase of both types of bipolar disorder involves very serious symptoms of major depression:

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Eating disturbances
    • Loss of appetite and weight loss
    • Overeating and weight gain
  • Fatigue or listlessness
  • Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness and/or guilt
  • Loss of self-esteem
  • Persistent sadness
  • Persistent thoughts of death
    • Excessive sleepiness
    • Inability to sleep
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Withdrawal from activities that were once enjoyed
  • Withdrawal from friends

There is a high risk of suicide with bipolar disorder. While in either phase, patients may abuse alcohol or other substances, which can worsen the symptoms.

Sometimes there is an overlap between the two phases. Manic and depressive symptoms may occur simultaneously or in quick succession in what is called a mixed state.

I think your wife was missdiagnosed and she has bi-polar. IS there any way to can talk to her parents or anyone who can convince her to see a doctor? Usually people who are going throught the manic or hypomanic stage feel like they are on top of the world and they don't seek treatment until the mania goes away and depression starts. You will have to monitor your children to make sure that they are well cared for. I don't think trying to stop her from leaving while she is manic will work. I am sorry but if you think your children are in danger do to your wives mental health you will have to call CPS. She will probably come back when the mania wears off. When that happens you have to make sure she gets help and gets on medication for bipolar and also continues to see a therapist. Unfortunatly most manic people are hard to reason with. I wonder if it will help you to see a therapist to cope with this. This is very difficult for you to see happening.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I don't know if it's quite that severe as I, though I really just want her to see a doctor for treatment rather than try to determine that myself. She can seem like her usual self at times. Flying off the handle at me like she has and drinking are unlike her, which seems like a lack of self-control. I'm sure sexual promiscuity is involved. I've already talked to her parents, though when her mom called her she was very upset with me. I expected as much, but I felt it had to be done. She does love her son, though, as that's evident. I just don't think she can stop herself from doing these destructive things right now. Should I speak with the "friends" that are hanging out with her and try to get them to stop encouraging her, or should I leave that alone?

I think leaving it alone is the best you can do right noiw. I am glad that she does not have the symptoms of bipolar. Maybe is an early midlife crisis some women go through them when they turn 30. I am not sure that talking to her friends would help. Sometimes alcohol can do that. Maybe she will come around. I am glad she is a good mother.
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