Q. Three weeks ago my 16 year old daughter tried to commit suicide by taking an overdose of aspirin with codeine..... she nearly succeeded, but thankfully called for help before it was to late. The scary part is that no one had a clue. She is very bright (has always had excellent grades), outgoing, pretty, fun, has a ton of friends, is involved in all sorts of extra activities, hardly ever gets upset and rarely ever argues with anyone about anything, and is almost always a very "happy go lucky" kind of person. She has truly been a model child. 

She is seeing a psychiatrist and a counselor (social worker). The Dr. talked to her about medications and gave her the option to give them a try. She decided to go ahead with them. She is currently taking Celexa (20mgs) and seems to be taking them well (no current side effects). I recently watched a documentary on teenage depression and suicide. There was one girl that really stood out. She was like a mirror image of my daughter in that she was very outgoing, smart, outwardly happy etc. She also tried to commit suicide. She said she was diagnosed as bipolar disorder. My daughter's father also tried to commit suicide while I was married to him many years ago. I have recently heard that he is in therapy again and was diagnosed as bipolar disorder. 

I have been reading everything I can about depression, suicide and bipolar disease since that time. I'm still pretty confused about the whole issue, especially treatment and medication. 

Is there really a test to detect bipolar? It seems I've read some thing about antidepressants not being good for people with bipolar? The doctor seems pretty laid back to me and not wanting to label my daughter with anything at this point in time. I'm just concerned that if she were to have bipolar disorder that she is not being treated with the proper medication. I'm also concerned that my daughter appears "just fine". She also appeared "just fine" before she tried to kill herself. She states that she does not know why she did what she did. Both doctors think she is a wonderful kid and will be just fine. I'm afraid she has them snowed too. I hope we're not all missing something here. Once again, here are my main questions:

1) Is there really a medical test to detect bipolar?

2) It seems I've read some thing about antidepressants not being good for people with bipolar disorder?

3) With her father's history, should I insist she be tested?


  A. 1 There is not a test for bipolar disease or any psychiatric illness.

2 Antidepressants are okay in bipolars. You have to treat the depression. The literature suggests the older medications are more problematic than the new ones. Celexa should be fine in her. Consult with her doctor if you are concerned.

3 There is no test for bipolars, so be alert. Even if she is snowing the doctor and everyone else, I do not know what you can do. You cannot lock her up, and doctors cannot read minds. I hope all goes well.