How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Elliott, LPCC, NCC Your Own Question
Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7664
Experience:  35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
40019946
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Elliott, LPCC, NCC is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How do I know if I have PTSD or am bipolar, or if Im both?

This answer was rated:

How do I know if I have PTSD or am bipolar, or if I'm both? I was brought up in an abusive household and the first and major symptom that I've had since childhood is not sleeping. Three days, no sleep. One day exhausted sleep, but only a few hours, and then repeat. This has never changed even while taking meds for bipolar.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Seeking expert counseling is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Dear friend,

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You have only given one symptom, which is insomnia.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

If you have bipolar disorder then you would have the two poles of mania and depression.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Do you have racing thoughts? Feel on top of the world? Talk rapidly? At least some of the time?

Customer:

racing thoughts and rapid talk

Customer:

anxiety, helpless, hopeless at times

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Do you sometimes engage in reckless behavior (driving, spending, gambling, sex).

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

The latter is depression which can occur in both disorders

Customer:

Not really.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Are you easily startled?

Customer:

yes

Customer:

never been arrested, or overspent

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Do you feel hypervigilant (as if something is about to happen)?

Customer:

yes

Customer:

especially at night

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Do you have nightmares or flashbacks or even occasional hallucinations?

Customer:

no hallucinations. nightmares and flashback i have

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Do you feel restricted emotions (ability to love)?

Customer:

Definitely!

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Are your racing thoughts specific, particularly about past trauma?

Customer:

Yes, especially lately. A lot.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Do you get panic attacks (rapid heartbeat, labored breathing, feel you are going crazy or going to die)?

Customer:

Right now as a matter of fact. But, yes I get trouble breathing (not physical according to MD), feel like maybe I must be off because of need to discuss this stuff now.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Take a few deep breaths right now. Slow and hold them in . This will pass.

Customer:

ok that helps, it does.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I believe that you have been misdiagnosed if you are taking bipolar medications. Get an opinion from an expert on PTSD.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You have enough symptoms and a basic cause (traumatic abuse) to warrant that diagnosis, in my long-distance assessment.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Read the following, which is the official criteria for PTSD from the psychiatric manual DSM-IV.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

 


309.81 DSM-IV Criteria for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder


A. The person has been exposed to a traumatic event in which both of the following have been present:


(1) the person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others (2) the person's response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror. Note: In children, this may be expressed instead by disorganized or agitated behavior.


B. The traumatic event is persistently reexperienced in one (or more) of the following ways:


(1) recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections of the event, including images, thoughts, or perceptions. Note: In young children, repetitive play may occur in which themes or aspects of the trauma are expressed.


(2) recurrent distressing dreams of the event. Note: In children, there may be frightening dreams without recognizable content.

(3) acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were recurring (includes a sense of reliving the experience, illusions, hallucinations, and dissociative flashback episodes, including those that occur upon awakening or when intoxicated). Note: In young children, trauma-specific reenactment may occur.


(4) intense psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event.


(5) physiological reactivity on exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event.


C. Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma and numbing of general responsiveness (not present before the trauma), as indicated by three (or more) of the following:


(1) efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations associated with the trauma


(2) efforts to avoid activities, places, or people that arouse recollections of the trauma


(3) inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma


(4) markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities


(5) feeling of detachment or estrangement from others


(6) restricted range of affect (e.g., unable to have loving feelings)


(7) sense of a foreshortened future (e.g., does not expect to have a career, marriage, children, or a normal life span)


D. Persistent symptoms of increased arousal (not present before the trauma), as indicated by two (or more) of the following:


(1) difficulty falling or staying asleep
(2) irritability or outbursts of anger
(3) difficulty concentrating
(4) hypervigilance
(5) exaggerated startle response


E. Duration of the disturbance (symptoms in Criteria B, C, and D) is more than one month.


F. The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.


Specify if:
Acute: if duration of symptoms is less than 3 months
Chronic: if duration of symptoms is 3 months or more


Specify if:
With Delayed Onset: if onset of symptoms is at least 6 months after the stressor

Customer:

Ok, good. Just one thing. Is it possible to have PTSD so long after the trauma?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :


If if was right after it would be called Acute Stress Disorder.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

It could be 6 months or 30 years after. It is POSTtraumatic.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Find a PTSD specialist. There are many (half the returning troops have it, and many accident victims and battered women and abused children as well).

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Do not stop your meds cold turkey. If you are going to stop them you must be weaned off VERY VERY slowly in a measured regimen under the guidance of a psychiatrist.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

PTSD requires more therapy than drugs.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Let me recommend a book just for you to start a little self help while you are assessing your next move.

Customer:

Ok. Finally, does living with a mom who was abusing drugs daily, absent father for most of the time, and being responsible for a younger sister meet the criteria? There's more, but not to discuss online. Thank-you, and I will check out the book.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Absolutely. You were abandoned and neglected, had way too much responsibility, and you have implied a lot worse.

Customer:

Thanks, Elliott. You have helped. Bye.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

This has been the cause of your ills, including your insomnia. You don't respond to antipsychotics because you have PTSD and not BPAD.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

May God bless and protect you.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

Related Mental Health Questions