The Drs: Teen Mom Star Kailyn Misdiagnosed Bipolar Disorder

The Doctors: Was ‘Teen Mom’ Star Misdiagnosed Bipolar?

Could you imagine being diagnosed with a mental illness, only to feel like you’ve been missed diagnosed? That’s the reality for Kailyn from Teen Mom 2. She filmed six seasons with the show and has two boys, one was born in 2010, the other in 2013. A few years ago, her mom was diagnosed bipolar and she split with her sons’ father. Her mother is an alcoholic so she was a single parent at 17-years-old. She wanted to get treatment for mood swings, anxiety, and depression. She underwent a psychiatric evaluation and was diagnosed bipolar.


Kailyn began taking mood stabilizers but didn’t notice a difference. She said her “life got hectic” so she stopped refilling her prescriptions and stopped going to therapy. She eventually met her husband, became a full time student, and began questioning her original diagnosis. She wanted to get a second opinion from a doctor for peace of mind, as well as to help others.

The Drs: Teen Mom Star Kailyn Misdiagnosed Bipolar Disorder

Teen Mom 2 star Kailyn turned to The Doctors for help after she believes she was wrongfully diagnosed with bipolar disorder. (pennajoe / Flickr)


The Doctors: Misdiagnosed Mental Disorder

Kailyn went to see psychiatrist Dr Shahla Modir, explaining what happened several years ago, and then discussed her childhood, being there for her alcoholic mom when she was just a child. Kailyn knew that her struggles with her mom were contributing to her stress and mood swings. Kailyn and Dr Modir joined the show, and Dr Modir explained that after Kailyn had her son, she was in a “depressive episode” for five months, which she didn’t get treatment for.

Dr Modir further explained that Kailyn didn’t meat the technical criteria for having a hypomanic episode. To have a diagnosis of bipolar, you have to have a depressive episode as well as symptoms such as increased activity levels and increased energy, as well as three or more symptoms of the main bipolar criteria, for at least four days, such as risky behavior. Kailyn didn’t meet those criteria, but her family history was a big factor, given that bipolar disorder has an 80% hereditary rate.

The Doctors: Mental Illness Diagnosis

Technically, at the time, Kailyn met the criteria for bipolar-unspecified, which means she didn’t mean criteria for bipolar. Kailyn said it makes sense to her and she was feeling a lot better to have a “true” diagnosis. The Doctors explained that a mental health diagnosis doesn’t just throw someone into a category, it’s about helping the person become more comfortable and helping get them to where they need to be.

Kailyn’s recent stability is a good sign, but she has to continue to monitor her symptoms to be sure that she’s healthy mentally. Lifestyle management can account for 50% of stability, so it’s important to manage stress, get enough sleep, and eat right. Kailyn recently wrote a children’s book “Love is Bubblegum.”


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