Does Carl Gallagher have bipolar? (+3 Causal factors)

This detailed article will be discussing if Carl Gallagher has bipolar. We will also be checking out the other mental illnesses that Carl may be suffering from. Additionally, we will look at the signs & symptoms of mental health issues in Carl along with some of the causal factors.

Does Carl Gallagher have bipolar?

No, Carl does not have bipolar disorder. The second youngest sibling in Gallagher family definitely shows many signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder but does not fit the diagnostic criteria of this mental illness.

Carl, also called Uncle Carl, among a few other nicknames, shares the same trouble-making personality as his siblings and can be seen running into nuisance all the time. He also sells drugs and even consumes alcohol from a very young age.

Other mental illnesses in Carl

While most of the Gallaghers definitely suffer from bipolar disorder, this does not seem to apply to Carl. In the show, ‘Shameless’, Carl Gallagher can be seen to experience a lot of mental instability, which can be explained by the presence of the following mental illnesses.


Carl Gallagher definitely suffers from some type of psychopathy or sociopathy. He often takes part in illegal activities like selling drugs. He also does not care about the feelings or emotions of others.

Carl, or Uncle Carl, can also be seen hurting other people without worrying about the extent of their injuries. He further hurts other animals, including a cat and even a bald eagle without showing any remorse.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Another theory is that Carl Gallagher might be suffering from Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Those who have Oppositional Defiant Disorder often have issues in accepting instruction and criticism from others and usually are the first rule-breakers.

In Carl Gallagher’s case, it can be easily seen from his first appearance that he is definitely not the kind to follow rules or even obey authority figures. This diagnosis can also be confirmed by his vengeful attitudes towards others.


Carl Gallagher also shows many symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Children who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD are often misunderstood to be disobedient and defiant, when the illness is in fact the reason behind their actions.

In Uncle Carl, the character is often shown to be very restless and agitated. He also is not shown to pay attention for long periods of time and can be seen changing directions many times throughout the episodes.

Intermittent Explosive Disorder

Another mental illness or disorder that Carl Gallagher might be suffering from is Intermittent Explosive Disorder. This disorder is often depicted through open anger and full-on rage which can hurt the person or others.

In ‘Shameless’, Carl Gallagher is shown to be very impulsive in nature and can definitely react very much out of proportion to any given stimuli. He is very prone to using his fists in an argument or a fight and endangers himself and others quite often.

Signs of Carl’s mental health issues

In the show ‘Shameless’, Carl can be seen to be suffering from numerous mental health issues. While his diagnosis is not actually confirmed in the show, it can be understood that the character definitely needs professional help, along with the rest of his family.

In this section of the post, we have discussed a few signs and symptoms of Carl’s mental health issues which have been depicted in the series, ‘Shameless’.

He is very aggressive to people

The first and most important sign of mental health issues in Carl Gallagher is that he can be seen getting aggressive with other people easily. He is often the first to throw fists in a fight and has almost taken the lives of other people.

He harms animals

Being violent to people is one thing, but being violent to animals is definitely a major red flag when it comes to mental illness. Carl Gallagher has been seen to harm animals and even kill them, including a cat and a bald eagle.

He destroys property

Carl Gallagher definitely has no qualms when it comes to destroying the property of others. He has broken into someone else’s property without asking their permission. This behavior is very common with his other siblings and family members as well.

He lies frequently and regularly

Carl Callagher is an all-time liar and lies frequently and very regularly. In fact, lying is a permanent part of Carl’s personality. The authorities cannot even get the truth out of him, even while he is on the stand.

He breaks rules

Rules are meant to be broken according to Carl Gallagher. If there is a rule, Carl has definitely broken it. From the beginning of the series, Carl can be seen breaking rules and seems to lack any moral principles.

He is known to be impulsive

Carl, or Uncle Carl, can also be seen getting into trouble as a result of his impulsivity. He is impulsive in many aspects, and this often puts him in danger. Most of the time, this impulsivity can be a way to satisfy his many sensory pleasures.

He loves to sell drugs

Carl Gallagher is very close to grandmother, who actually starts off his love affair with drugs. She teaches him to cook meth and he in turn starts selling drugs as an easy way to make money. However, he seems to reform after his relationship fails and joins military school as a result.

He is a bad influence on others

Carl Gallagher is not only a threat to himself but also to others and this can be seen repeated throughout the series. In one instance, he can be seen using his own nephew, Chuckie to deliver drugs which actually gets Carl caught by the cops.

Causes of Carl’s mental health issues

Carl Gallagher’s mental health issues can be blamed on several reasons and not just one. In the following points, we have examined a few causal factors which might have contributed to Carl Gallagher’s mental health issues.

  • Family history: The main reason for Carl Gallagher’s mental health issues is definitely the family history. The Gallaghers have a long history with bipolar disorder along with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder which follows them everywhere.
  • Dysfunctional family structure: Another reason which could have contributed to Carl Gallagher’s mental health issues is the dysfunctional family structure he is brought up in. None of the Gallaghers are exposed to positive role models in the series.

In fact, all the family members in the Gallagher household have a history of getting into trouble and even getting others into trouble. Carl Gallagher was actually a rarity, where he decided to reform himself and put aside these dysfunctional ways.

  • Need to please his father: One more reason why Carl Gallagher might have developed these bad habits and behaviors is because of the need to please his father, Frank Gallagher. Carl and Frank are not seen to have such a good relationship in the show.

In the first season of the series, Carl Gallagher enjoys the time he gets to spend with his father, Frank, when the latter was sober. When Frank breaks his sobriety, Carl is visibly disappointed, mainly since he wanted to spend quality time with his father.

Frank is also definitely not a positive influence on his children, including Carl Gallagher. In one instance, Frank convinces Carl that he has cancer in order to make money from the Make a Wish Foundation.


This detailed article has discussed if Carl Gallagher has bipolar. We have also checked out the other mental illnesses that Carl may be suffering from. Additionally, we have looked at the signs & symptoms of mental health issues in Carl along with some of the causal factors.

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