Skip to content


    Attention All WebMD Community Members:

    These message boards are closed to posting. Please head on over to our new WebMD Message Boards to check out and participate in the great conversations taking place:

    Your new WebMD Message Boards are now open!

    Making the move is as easy as 1-2-3.

    1.Head over to this page:

    2.Choose the tag from the drop-down menu that clicks most with you (and add it to any posts you create so others can easily find and sort through posts)

    3. Start posting

    Have questions? Email us anytime at

    Visit our Crisis Assistance Link for resources. For immediate help, get to the ER.

    *No Dr Outside Contact Please*
    is it possible?
    Anon_74380 posted:
    Is it possible for a mental health professional to mis diagnos bi polar disorder? what are the usual lengths of time between manic episodes and depression? is there ever an amount of time where someone has no manic episodes for a certain length of time that they can be said to not have bi polar disorder or once someone has a single interpreted manic episode are they bi polar for life?
    mattthecat responded:
    when it comes to mental Illness any thing is possible but not every thing is probable. If you do not trust your doc then get a second opinion there are plenty of psychiatrists out there most areas have at least two or three even in the rural places.
    I am not a medical professional. Just some one who has done some research on the subject and have loved ones suffering from bipolar.
    From what i have seen there is no norm for length of episodes and many people can go long lengths of time with no symptoms at all especially if they are on the correct medicine combination. I have personal knowledge of at least two people who have done an excellent job of taking there medicine and even there close friends do not know they have bipolar disorder. My warning to you is this many with bipolar disorder fall in to one of two traps either they start taking there medicine do well and stop taking there medicine because they have been symptom free and think they will stay that even with out the medicine which usually does not work well at all or they have trouble seeing manic episodes for what they are because the burst of energy makes them feel really good at first like there on top of the world and by the time they realize it is a severe manic episode they are so out of it they can not make good decisions for them self with out getting serious medical help to come down from the episode.

    So let me finish by saying that if you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder then you will have to most likely have to monitor your moods for the rest of your life. Most people with Bipolar disorder find a good professorial counselor to work your kind of questions out with. A good counselor can help you monitor your moods give you advice on how to deal with your psychiatrist and even give you advice weather you need that second opinion to determine if it is truly bipolar or not.
    I hope this post helps you.
    leon1616 replied to mattthecat's response:
    I agree with Matt. I know in my experiences, I'll go on medication, feel great, and then discontinue the medication. I know, on an intellectual level, it's illogical to do so, but I'm so eager just to be ME without the pills that I talk myself into doing it. From what I understand this is VERY common for people who suffer from various mental illnesses (and, I imagine, some low or no symptom physical illnesses also, though I don't want to speculate).

    And the 2nd part is the real trap: when you have a euphoric episode, and all of a sudden you're super-productive, and confident, and you feel like a winner. That's tough enough to resist, but even more so when you're so used to being depressed.

    As for the question on diagnosis, there is a certain degree of interpretation involved in diagnosing a mental illness. Anybody can tell if a leg is broken, or if lymph nodes are swollen, etc. A mental health professional has to draw certain inferences based on his or her own observations and the accounts of the patient. Personally, even though I suspected my diagnosis was correct, I sought another (and was given the same answer). It's not unreasonable to do so IMHO.

    Now, in terms of the "only one manic episode" thing, you could be a Type II Bipolar. For that type, often the manic episodes are very rare, and (in my experience) there isn't always a ton of qualitative difference between Type II BPD and clinical depression.

    If you trust your mental health professional, you should seek his or her counsel on life-management skills going forward.
    monkeybee replied to leon1616's response:
    I think Bipolar Disorder can be misdiagnosed, as can anything, but trained professionals know what to look for and how to diagnose. Officially (and I'm only paraphrasing from Bipolar Disorder for Dummies), you must have one bout of mania in a lifetime and as few as no depressions to recieve a Bipolar I diagnosis and you must have one or more episodes of depression with at least one episode of hypomania in a lifetime for a Bipolar II diagnosis. I have Bipolar I but at 29, I've only had 2 major episodes spread over 15 years with smaller episodes that I only in hindsight have noticed. If you have the illness, it's there even if you don't have or notice the symptoms. It can worsen anytime. Just some thoughts. I wish you well as you seek answers to your questions.

    Featuring Experts

    Joseph F. Goldberg, MD, is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY. He also maintains a private prac...More

    Helpful Tips

    Screen out people who can't seem to "get it"....
    There are some people who can't or won't understand at all. My wife is bipolar, and some people are more understanding than others. We ... More
    Was this Helpful?
    37 of 43 found this helpful

    Related Drug Reviews

    • Drug Name User Reviews

    Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

    FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.