Lying does NOT appear in any list of bipolar disorder symptoms. For us, maybe more than for other people, the truth really can hurt!
In that strict sense, it is not part of the clinical criteria. In fact, “everybody lies” is one of today’s pop culture mantras. (An interesting portrayal of a compulsive liar with bipolar is Matt Damon as Mark Whitacre in the movie .) The symptoms of mania, when taken individually, can all be shown to create a predisposition for telling lies.
Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments (CANMAT) guidelines for the management of patients with bipolar disorder: consensus and controversies, Bipolar Disorders, April 2005.
Practice parameters for the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with bipolar disorder, Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, January 1997.
In this section we will discuss infidelity causes, cures, and some sad and scary statistics.
Think about royalty, celebrities, presidents, third-world dictators.
” Much as I hate to say it, my own experience leads me to say YES! They are afraid of the consequences of telling the truth. They feel compelled to cast themselves in a more favorable light. It is a “white lie” to make someone else feel better and has no malice in it. They are manipulative sociopaths or narcissists and enjoy the power that comes from deliberately deceiving and making fools out of other people. They are politicians or secret agents or parents or are in some other situation where it appears to them that the ends justify the means. The person with bipolar disorder may be experiencing a powerful sense of superiority and entitlement, and/or an unshakable conviction they are above the rules and/or an aching feeling of being misunderstood and under-appreciated – that is, the perfect storm!
However,bipolar and lying is a complex and nuanced issue and I hope you will keep reading to discover some of the factors that drive this apparent lack of honesty. It is easy to see why at least the first three of these common reasons for lying may come up frequently in the life of someone with bipolar disorder. Manic symptoms such as grandiosity and impulsiveness. During an episode, the normal self is temporarily replaced by someone who is convinced they are special and superior.
However, many of us have had life experiences that lead us to conclude there is a definite connection between bipolar and lying. It is the signature line of Dr House on tv, and you can even buy a t-shirt proclaiming “everybody lies”. When several, or all, of these symptoms are combined, the likelihood of lying compounds and amplifies. Wish fulfillment, selfishness, delusion, deceit, egomania, self gratification, escapism – words often used to describe the psychic landscape of the liar are strikingly similar to the experience of bipolar mania.
So in fairness to all of us with bipolar disorder, the issue could be more fairly cast as “do people with bipolar disorder tell EXTRA lies? In my opinion, bipolar and lying go together with bipolar grandiosity, diminished need for sleep, racing thoughts and overall impulsivity and impaired judgment.