Possible to Have Both PTSD and Bipolar Disorder?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I just recently got out of the military and i was diagnosed with ptsd after going to some behavioral sessions my last session the Dr. out of left field said i had bi polar symptoms and tried to say i was bi polar i was like yea right just because i went through some trama doesnt mean i am bi polar and if she does diagnose me with bi polar is it possible you can have both ptsd and be bi polar? please help me out with my confusion and thank you for taking the time to read this.

A. It is difficult to know what prompted your doctor to diagnose you with both PTSD and bipolar disorder. Presumably you met the criteria for both disorders.

It is possible to have both PTSD and bipolar disorder. Some studies have shown that among bipolar patients, the prevalence of PTSD is nearly double the rate found among individuals in the general population.

If you are unhappy with your diagnosis or the quality of care that you are receiving, then it would be advisable to seek a second or even a third opinion. This might help to clarify your diagnosis.

What is most important is not necessarily pinning down a diagnosis (though many find that a helpful place to start) but receiving effective psychological treatment. Choose a therapist or psychiatrist who provides the most psychological relief. One way to know if you have found effective treatment is that you should feel improvement after each session. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 9 Apr 2012

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2012). Possible to Have Both PTSD and Bipolar Disorder?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/04/09/possible-to-have-both-ptsd-and-bipolar-disorder/

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