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Bipolar Disorder Q&A: Can Long-Term Acute Pain Lead to Bipolar Disorder?

bipolar and long term pain

Chris asks…

Can long term (decade+) acute pain from an artery joining a vein directly in the spine that causes legs to not work very well lead to bipolar? Person has master degree in Mech Engineering and a MBA. Started to make poorer decisions which led to job loss, went on disability, divorce, severe ruminating, depression, possible suicidal thoughts, inability to think things through, sense of being lost and blaming one’s self for all that has gone wrong, fear or what is going to happen and impulsive behavior that cost his life savings.

He knew what to do but didn’t do it to prevent such a large loss of savings. He is seeing a therapist for mental health reasons and a regular doctor for his physical impairments. A lot of his symptoms I’ve seen in several bipolar individuals who I am familiar with. He asked me if he could be bipolar. Therapist thinks pain.

Dr. Fink Answers…


I can’t offer an accurate diagnosis without seeing the patient, but bipolar disorder is typically caused by a genetic susceptibility coupled with certain stressors, and pain certainly qualifies as a stressor. Divorce, job loss, and financial problems are also significant stressors. Your friend really should make an appointment to see a psychiatrist and obtain a differential diagnosis to help identify the root cause, whether it’s bipolar disorder or something else entirely.

We’ve posted a sample chapter of our book Bipolar Disorder For Dummies on our other blog, which you and your friend may find helpful: Chapter 5, “Getting a Psychiatric Evaluation and Treatment Plan.” It provides details on how to choose a psychiatrist and get the most accurate diagnosis. Hope this helps.

Photo by jancissmells, available under a Creative Commons attribution license.

Bipolar Disorder Q&A: Can Long-Term Acute Pain Lead to Bipolar Disorder?

Candida Fink, MD


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APA Reference
Fink, C. (2011). Bipolar Disorder Q&A: Can Long-Term Acute Pain Lead to Bipolar Disorder?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 20, 2019, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/bipolar/2011/07/pain-bipolar-disorder/

 

Last updated: 12 Jul 2011
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 12 Jul 2011
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.