Is Self-hitting A Symptom Of Bipolar Disorder?

Question

Asked by A.King

Is Self-hitting A Symptom Of Bipolar Disorder?

Cutters seem to have the psychology spotlight, but I tend to hit myself during bad episodes. Is this a "normal" bipolar disorder reaction?

Answer

Self-harm (which may include hitting) is "normal" for borderline personality disorder. Self-destructive behavior also goes with the territory with borderline.

But this does not necessarily mean you are borderline.

You are a unique individual, and individuals never fall neatly into convenient diagnostic categories. Most of us with bipolar have bipolar "with some other stuff going on." Say, bipolar with a bit of anxiety, bipolar with a bit of ADD, bipolar with some behavior quirks, etc, etc.

When our moods run away from us, almost anything can happen. We react to losing control of our brains and to personal distress in an infinity of ways unique to our personalities. The psych literature lists some of the most common (and hence stereotypical ones), but that doesn't invalidate how you may react.

But here's where diagnostic labels can help-even if you don't fit the diagnosis. Suppose, for instance, I get anxious just prior to flipping out-obviously it would help to learn about anxiety and see what I can do to manage it.

So, in your case, it would help for you to research self-harm, which means checking out the literature on borderline, even if you don't have borderline. The borderline literature is bound to give you some insight into self-harm, as well as some pointers in how to manage it.

I am finding more and more these days that investigating other psychiatric illness - from anxiety to schizophrenia to personality disorders - is shedding light on all "the other stuff" that comes with my illness.