Teen Mom 2 star Kailyn Lowry appeared on a recent episode of The Doctors to discuss, and get a second opinion on, her bipolar disorder diagnosis.
Kailyn told The Doctors, “A few years ago, my mom was diagnosed bipolar and my older son’s father and I split up. My mom’s an alcoholic, so I’m a new single parent at 17 years old — and I think I was going through so much, so I wanted to go get treatment for mood swings, anxiety, depression… I did a psychiatric evaluation, and then he said I think that you are bipolar.”
After the diagnosis, Kail started taking mood stabilizers but she reveals that she didn’t notice a difference. “From that point on my life got hectic and I just kind of stopped going to therapy and stopped refilling my prescriptions,” she said.
Dr. Shahla Modir sat down with Lowry to reanalyze the history behind her initial diagnosis. Here is her conclusion:
Dr. Modir said:
“She had been in a depressive episode after she had her first son for five months that she didn’t get treatment for. She was having some mood swings and irritable, but she didn’t actually meet the technical criteria for having a hypomanic episode. So to have a diagnosis of Bipolar II, you have to have had one depressive episode and then you need to have symptoms like an inflated grandiose mood, increased activity levels, increased energy, plus three or more symptoms from the main bipolar criteria from at least four days. In our case, Kail didn’t meet that criteria.
Dr. Modir added, “She had a mood change irritability but she didn’t have any of the other core criteria. But, I think because she has a family history that puts you at much higher risk… She’d had a depressive episode and was now irritable I believe the doctor was just afraid that she may develop a full hypomanic episode. Technically at the time she met criteria for a Bipolar Unspecified, which means you don’t actually meet criteria for Bipolar II.”
For some reference, the following are the four basic types of bipolar disorder, via the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), with the two types mentioned above in bold:
• Bipolar I Disorder — defined by manic or mixed episodes that last at least seven days, or by manic symptoms that are so severe that the person needs immediate hospital care. Usually, depressive episodes occur as well, typically lasting at least 2 weeks.
• Bipolar II Disorder — defined by a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes, but no full-blown manic or mixed episodes.
• Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (BP-NOS) — diagnosed when symptoms of the illness exist but do not meet diagnostic criteria for either bipolar I or II. However, the symptoms are clearly out of the person’s normal range of behavior.
• Cyclothymic Disorder, or Cyclothymia — a mild form of bipolar disorder. People with cyclothymia have episodes of hypomania as well as mild depression for at least 2 years. However, the symptoms do not meet the diagnostic requirements for any other type of bipolar disorder.
When Kail was asked how this new information made her feel she said, “I do feel like this is truly what my diagnosis is. So, I’m feeling a lot better.”
To find out more about bipolar disorder, including causes, symptoms and treatments, we encourage you to visit NIMH here.