Promiscuous and Troubled

Based on email.

Bipolar Hypersexuality

   I have this little sister that has these spells where she will start strongly coming onto guys -- any guys.

A lot of times she'll disappear with a guy for the night and he'll end up dumping her off on our doorstep the next morning. 

Then she'll feel really ashamed and will disappear into her room and lose herself for hours in her painting. 

Then afterwards she'll be fine for a while, but then something will come over her and it will happen again.

Have you heard of this?

   You seem to be describing the hypersexual, manic phase of a bipolar personality disorder.

It's inadvisable to do a long-distance diagnosis so don't consider this one, but since this touches on some of the other letters we've gotten, we'll venture some general information.

From your letter your sister may be exhibiting both the manic and depression phases of this condition.

While in the hypersexual phase people tend to not be discriminating in sexual partners. This can lead to STDs, pregnancy, and even put them in life-threatening situations.  More information on the hypersexual aspect of this condition can be found here.

>>   The general bipolar condition afflicts tens-of-thousands of people to various degrees. When the condition is not severe the symptoms can be controlled to a point they are not noticeable.

When they are severe the results can derail a life. At that point suicide even becomes a concern.

The bipolar disorder can be treated by counseling and a number of mood stabilizing drugs such as lithium and sodium valproate.

The manic episodes can be treated with antipsychotic medications. All of these drugs must be administered and monitored by a psychiatrist.

You mentioned her painting. For reasons that aren't understood, creativity is sometimes associated with the bipolar disorder.

>>Your sister should get psychiatric help. The condition can and should be treated. There is more information on the Internet, including here.

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