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Dr. Olsen
Dr. Olsen, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2336
Experience:  PsyD Psychologist
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How do I tell the difference between -polar and a drug

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How do I tell the difference between bi-polar and a drug issue?
Thank you for writing in JustAnswer.
I'm sorry to hear about your daughter's situation.
Let me ask you a few questions first.
When did her behavior problem start?
Did she exhibit emotional and behavior problems when she was a child?
Please let me know by clicking on “Reply” and I will then craft my response.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Warm Regards,
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

There were no issues as a child. We started to have problems the summer she graduated high school. She was accepted to UCSD and failed all of her classes the 1st semester in the 2nd year. Later I discovered she started extasy (sp) in high school and added weed to her list and continued until she moved out.

Hi there,
Thank you for your reply.
I'm sorry to hear about your daughter's situation.
It sounds like your daughter developed emotional and behavior problems due to drug abuse problems.
People with Bipolar disorder usually exhibit behavior problems in early childhood. In her case, she didn't have any issue as a child.
Perhaps, drug abuse may have caused and aggravated mood disorder in her.
Drug treatment is a priority.
Please let me know if you have more questions or I have overlooked any. Warm regards,
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

She has implied that she is no longer on drugs, could the drugs bring on the bi-polar behavior?

And do you practice in Los Angeles area?

Hi there,
Thank you for your reply.
Okay. She says she has quit drugs. But, she exhibits mood swings and stealing. It's possible she still struggles with depression as a result of past drug abuse and other factors such as life transition issues.
She may have a lot of unresolved feelings such as guilt and sadness as she wasted her time due to past drug abuse. She may still avoid taking responsibility for her past action and consequences she had. Instead, she blames you and/or her parents for her current emotional struggle.
I would advise her to see a counselor to express and process your feelings and thoughts and get advice and support WEEKLY. A combination of psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy are considered to be effective to treat Depression. Cognitive-behvaior therapy (CBT) will work for her depression and anxiety, and life transition issues (early adulthood issues).
You or she may ask her doctor for a psychologist/psychotherapist that she can work with weekly. Or you may call her insurance company and get a list of providers (licensed psychologists or psychotherapists) in your area.
Or, you can search a licensed psychologist on internet- such as the PSYCHOLOGY TODAY website. Go to ( and enter your zip code and optional category of specialty such as Depression. Read psychotherapists’ profile to see if he or she specializes in Cognitive-behavior therapy and Depression. You may also want to create your mental image of psychotherapist that she wants to work with – Male or female? To note, many therapists offer initial consultation for free. So she can see it as an informational meeting. She can ask any question and negotiate psychotherapy fee.
If she had no health insurance or seek a low fee counseling, you may call The United Way toll free # 211 (Dial 2-1-1)to find the community mental health centers in her area in which she can get counseling even without health insurance and for a low fee.
I'm not working near LA.
Additionally, she may benefit from having a support group for young women in her area. To find a group therapy or a support group for herself, contact a local hospital or a clinic by asking if they offer a group for men. If you like to find a support group online, check Mental Health America website section ( - Find a group in your area.
The website Daily Strength (www.dailystrength) offers an online support group including depression and anxiety.
Also, a heart-healthy diet like Omega 3 fatty acid may improve her brain functioning and mood. Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Choose low-fat protein sources, such as fish, lean meat and skinless poultry. Hydrate herself during daytime.
Physical activity increases blood flow to your whole body, including your brain. This may help improve your mood.
In addition, yoga, biofeedback, acupuncture, and massage therapy may be helpful to improve her mood.
I hope your daughter gets well with all available help.
Please let me know if you have more questions or I have overlooked any. Warm regards,
Dr. Olsen and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you