Sin or medical condition


I have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder 1. I have been having some rather extreme anger outbursts lately and I am having trouble differentiating whether it is a sin or a disease. I prefer to think it is a moral failing and that I can correct it through counseling and with God’s help. But I keep doing the same thing over and over again and I fear I am going to destroy my family. I am scared to take any medication for the condtion due to stigma, and side effects.


I’m just an armchair moral theologian, so my opinion probably isn’t worth much…

I would say it could be sinful, depending on the circumstances. However, depending on your illness, the culpability could be reduced because you may have your free will impared.

I would take a multi-thronged approach to you problem. Find a compassionate, orthodox priest as a regular confessor and spiritual director. Also, find a physician and psychiatrist (preferably Catholic/Christian) who can take a wholistic approach.


Agent - take your meds.


:thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:


There will be far more stigma attached to you for your episodes of rage than would attach to the need for medicines. Do yourself, your family and your doctors a favor and take your meds. My most darling and cherished sister-in-law (now in her 50s) was not diagnosed with bipolar until her 40s. Her “upsets” prior to the use of medication were legendary and the harm done to her children when she was undiagnosed and unmedicated was incalculable. Thanks be to God there is such a profound difference in their lives now since my s-i-l got over her pride and bit the bullet. Her daughters, all now grown women clearly understand what was wrong with mom back in the bad old days. Except for her outbursts, she was loving and phenomonal in every way - but the ourbursts? I’m surprised my brother retained his sanity. The diagnosis and the meds saved the family, beyond any doubt. Give a minute too, please, to thank God your condition is treatable.


Take your medications. It’s not a sin to be sick and you do have a sickness that is treatable. Don’t worry about what anyone may or may not say about you being under medical care. Take care of yourself.


And that too.


First of all- God Bless You.

I used to be in similar situation as far as anger:
Take your meds
Get into regular counseling
Talk regularly with your priest about these kind of issues, it will really help.

If your are not under the care of a psychiatrist for the meds, find one. If the first prescription doesn’t work, try, try again.

Not following what you know you need to become healthy and then hurting others as a result-that is where the sin may be .

Take your meds
Take your meds
Take your meds

If you feel stigma , discuss it with your counselor and not with outsiders.

It will get better.



Absolutely true.
Especially since pride and fear of others’ opinion is the barrier.

Have mercy on yourself, you friends and esp, your family.


bipolar is a chemical imbalance that is easily corrected with the proper medication. --I mean this in the fact that the same medication does not work for everyone.

I agree:

Take your meds…However I would like to add that when you feel better…Take your meds. Don’t stop and crash!


The problem with medications, though, is that they don’t seem to work or the side effects are intolerable. I have taken Mellaril, Depakote, Zoloft, Wellbutrin, Lithium, Klonopin, Risperdal, Lamictal, Trileptal, Gabaentin, Lunesta, etc. I gained 40 lbs on Depakote, Lithium tweaked my thyroid and the others didn’t really seem to work.

They say bipolar is treatable but only if you find the right medication. I fear there is no right medication. . .


Agent, you have highly resistant bi-polar but keep plugging away. I pray that you and your doctors will find the right drug or combination of drugs to help you live on an even keel. Unfortunately this is all trial and error and can take years to find the right drugs and amounts without the worst side effects! I have a new friend whose spouse had a psychotic episode a couple of years ago and they are still working on finding the right combination of drugs without the worst side effects!

I have another friend who is “mildly” bi-polar and takes low doses of some of the drugs you mentioned but has had to have the drugs and doses adjusted throughout the 14 or so years I have known this person.

God Bless you and pray to St. Dymphna - the Patroness of mental disorders (one of my patrons - I have my own that are not as severe as yours :o)

Brenda V.



First, sorry you’ve been put the wringer by the psych community.
Second, so Lithium tweaks your thyroid. That’s treatable.

Lithium remains “first choice” for treatment of bipolar disease. Like nearly all psych meds, the side effects can be daunting for the first six to eight weeks of use. Yes, you need regular blood tests to check lithium levels. Looking at the list of drugs someone (some many?) gave you, I wonder why he/they never offered Tegrotol. It’s an anti-convulsive drug, first used in Asia I think and it’s been found effective in treating some cases of bipolar (secondary usage). As for the other drugs you’ve been given - I’m clueless. Lithium can be tolerated by nearly everyone. Thyroid problems (any sideffects of Lithium) are so minimal compared to the ravages of bipolar that it’s hard to imagine even mentioning them.

I feel so strongly since I worked with many young adults who were reluctant to start meds. Their reluctance led to greater problems. My s-i-l has been on Lithium for about fifteen yrs now. It’s an absolute non-issue in her life although when she began to take it, it was all drama and insane fear. That passes. I guess I feel so strongly because I saw what my nieces and brother went through before my s-i-l was diagnosed. It wasn’t pretty. I think it helped all of our family that one other brother had an organ transplant about twenty yrs ago and to sustain it, he took 23 different meds a day - without one complaint. (With two shots of insulin as well.)

Don’t give up. PLAN to ADJUST. Then do it.


Thanks for the replies. I have forgotten what I am supposed to feel like or how “normal” people feel.

I can see how NOT taking medications could be construed as a sin, but have you seen the side effects on these medications? Diabetes, tremendous weight gain, thyroid irregularities.

Trileptal is basicially Tegretol without the side effects.

Anyawy, thanks for your input. I have hear the take your meds, take your meds, take your meds mantra a lot. Of course, I, as the person being told to take the sometimes poisonous chemicals, may desire other treatment like couneling, prayer, etc.


As someone who is on Ritalin for ADD (not that I’m comparing this to your much more dramatic situation but it gives me some insight), meds usually aren’t perfect, but the ADD is so much more harmful both to myself and to others that it would be a sin not to treat it, even with an imperfect treatment. You need to think about whether the same principle applies to your bipolar.

Besides which, what is to prevent you seeking counselling and prayer (in fact you really ought to be doing those anyway) AS WELL AS sticking to the meds as at least a temporary measure? Then if counselling and prayer have a significant effect, you can try, under close medical supervision, gradually weaning yourself off of the meds, always being prepared to go straight back on them if necesary.

In any event, what you have there is most definitely a medical condition, albeit one that is potentially treatable in a variety of ways, and not a character flaw or a sin of any kind.


Agent - there are other bi-polar members here. Hang out long enough and one of them may show up and then you can PM them and talk more in private about the disorder.

Again, prayers for you and I know I have not answered your question about sinning - this is truly a question better answered by your Priest or Spiritual director with whom you can discuss this much better than here on such an anonymous forum.

Brenda V.



There are newer medications on the market now for bipolar, medications that have better side effect profiles. I am concerned though, the medications that you have listed are not all for bipolar, is there a chance that you may be misdiagnosed? bipolar really is the diagnosis du jour in the psychiatric field right now.

I applaud your desire to seek non-medicine treatment… Please seek out someone experienced with bipolar v. manic personality syndromes. Speak to your priest about what has been happening and perhaps he can suggest a good counselor in your area.

Good luck and prayers!


I get it. Side-effects are rough. Yes. They are.

Having acknowledged that, I hope you’ll do a course of Lithium for a few months, WITH prayer and WITH counseling. If you’re truly bipolar then Lithium is the first (and usually ONLY) choice. I can’t even imagine why you were ever on half the other stuff.

Again, re my brother …
twenty-three medications a day, too many pills to count and not a single complaint from him about the side-effects; some side-effects required more, new meds that led to more side-effects. The patient who chooses MEDICAL NON-COMPLIANCE is the real nightmare for doctors and for families. Were we all thrilled to pieces to have my brother around for an “extra” twenty years? Oh yeah. Did he, in part, obey his doctors for our comfort too? Oh yeah.

As for ‘sometimes poisonous chemicals’ - what isn’t these days?


Hi Agent,

It sounds like you have quite a cross to bear. But, you are in our prayers here at CAF.

It may be some trial and error before you get on the right medications. However, consider the spiritual and consueling aspects as well.


My daughter, grandson, and nephew are all bi-polar. It’s a family disease. It took several years for my nephew to find the right combination of medication. My daughter was on serquel for over a year and did gain quite a bit of weight but her mood was stable and she felt much better. Since then she has been on Geodon and abilify (sp). She reacts better to Geodon.

My 11 year old grandson has yet to start on medication other than for ADHD.
My husband and I are raising his younger sister because of his violent episodes and threats against her. I am begging my daughter to get him counseling and to a psychiatrist for medication.

The bottom line is persevere in counseling and meds until you find
what works. My daughter spent years self-medicating and going through 2 marriages not to mention putting her children and us through hell.

I will pray for you and hope you find an answer!!

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