Does Effy have bipolar? (+3 Main reasons)

In the current blogpost, we will be answering if Effy has bipolar. We will also be checking out the various signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder that Effy portrays in the show, ‘Skins’. Additionally, we will be explaining the causal factors behind her mental illness.

Does Effy have bipolar?

Yes, Effy has bipolar. In the show ‘Skins’, Effy seems to be struggling with bipolar and is portrayed to have many manic and depressive episodes. However, the show does not clinically diagnose her as having bipolar. Instead, they say that she suffers from ‘psychotic depression’.

At the same time, Effy’s mood and affect can be seen to be clearly having highs and lows, which are only characterized by bipolar disorder. Many mental health experts and loyal viewers have come up with various theories about Effy’s mental diagnoses. These alternatives are:

  • Psychotic depression: In later seasons, the show clearly mentions that Effy suffers from psychotic depression. This is as a result of her delusions and psychotic symptoms that she portrays.

The realization that Effy might be actually suffering from psychotic depression actually comes to her then boyfriend, Freddie. As a result of her illness, Effy also attempts suicide and is institutionalized for further treatment.

  • Selective mutism: In her first couple of seasons, Effy is pretty silent and does not respond when others speak to her. It is highlighted in the show that Effy is actually suffering from selective mutism.

Looking at the backstory, Effy seems to have been mute for at least a few years, maybe five to six. This is not due to her lack of communication skills but mostly as a response to trauma. However, later, Effy recovers from this.

  • Borderline Personality Disorder: Another alternate diagnosis that Effy might be suffering from is Borderline Personality Disorder. Effy is pretty paranoid of other people and rarely trusts the words and actions of others.

In addition to this, she takes part in self-harm and self-destructive activities and even attempts suicide at one point. Her impulsivity and recklessness further add to the theory that Effy indeed suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder.

  • Schizophrenia: Some viewers who have closely studied Effy’s personality and psychology state that the character might be actually suffering from Schizophrenia. This is mainly due to the fact that the character actually goes through psychotic episodes.

Effy definitely suffers from a distorted thinking pattern and has her own delusions. The show also depicts Effy having hallucinations and poor social skills, both of which are very true for schizophrenia.

Signs of Effy’s Bipolar

Effy’s bipolar disorder is clearly depicted in the show, ‘Skins’, even if it is not openly mentioned. Some signs from the show that Effy is suffering from bipolar disorder and maybe even some other mental illness have been shared in the points below.

She shows distorted thinking

Right from the beginning, it can be seen that Effy is not someone who thinks normally. Even in her very first dialogue, Effy says that she is someone who was born backwards and will always be a little odd when compared to everyone else.

She does not take care of herself

While there are numerous make-up tutorials for the look of Effy from Skins, there is no denying the fact that this character actually did not take care of her health very well. Her ‘look’ is actually a product of bad habits and fatigue.

Her self-care can be dipping gradually and consistently, right before her full-blown psychosis. This shows the actual pattern of how a mental illness develops and how bipolar disorder runs its course in a person.

She takes part in meaningless sex

Despite lacking extroverted social skills and being aloof for most of the episodes, Effy still manages to have a hyperactive sex life. But, her flings are most just flings and turn out to be meaningless in nature. This is also a characteristic sign of bipolar disorder.

She tries to kill herself

Another important trait that points out to the underlying bipolar disorder in Effy is her suicidal attempts. Effy tries to kill herself by cutting her own wrists, but fortunately, Freddy saves her in time. After this suicide attempt, Effy is institutionalized.

She goes through mood swings

Throughout the series, Effy can be seen to constantly have mood swings. When she is happy and elated at one point, she can be seen crashing down with depression in another. Frequent mood swings are also characteristic of bipolar disorder.

She uses drugs

Just like the impulsive and unsafe sex that she frequently participates in, Effy can also be seen binge drinking and consuming drugs frequently. While this often reinforces her ‘cool-girl’ image in front of her friends, it also shows that Effy is actually suffering from deep-rooted issues.

Her drug use also starts when she is very young and this gets so out of hand that they worsen her mental health symptoms. At another instance, she is stuck in a van with some other boys when someone injects her with an unknown drug and she passes out.

She does not have healthy relationships

Effy also does not have any healthy relationships in the show. She is constantly stuck in between Freddie and Cook. Even though she realizes that she is actually in love with Freddie, she decides to date Cook as a result of her poor self-esteem.

Later, she decides to date Freddie who is then killed by her psychiatrist for threatening to spill out his dangerous secrets. The show also depicts Effy as clearly willing to sleep with anyone without any strings attached.

She takes part in dangerous activities

Even when going through selective mutism, Effy still had a side which liked to take part in reckless and dangerous activities. As a result, she surrounded herself with friends who did illegal and indecent things.

Being frequently reckless and endangering yourself and others is also another characteristic trait of bipolar disorder. She can be mostly seen ready to pop any pill that someone hands her, indulges in binge drinking and takes least care of her health.

Causes of Effy’s Bipolar

The show ‘Skins’ clearly depicts the course of bipolar disorder in Effy’s life, although it is termed as psychotic depression in the series. The presence of this mental illness in Effy can be attributed to several causal factors, such as,

  • Her family upbringing: In her first season, Effy rarely speaks and is shown to have selective mutism. Although she goes to counseling for this, it does not seem to work. Her selective mutism is actually blamed on her parents.

Effy’s parents would often yell at her and do stunts to get her to react to them. Amidst all of this distress, Effy subconsciously shut down and became selectively mute. This could have also led to her developing bipolar disorder.

  • Her brother’s almost-death: In the final episode of the first series of Skins, Effy’s brother Tony is shown to have a life-threatening accident. Immediately after this, Effy can be seen breaking her mutism and speaking.

This goes to show how shaken and traumatized Effy was by her brother’s near-death experience. This experience does not stop here since she actually gets a panic attack when she visits the site of the accident much later on.

  • Her poor self-esteem: Even though Effy seems to be having the time of her life, doing drugs and having meaningless sex, this all points to her low self-esteem. Effy fails to find stability in her own identity and instead numbs the pain through dangerous shortcuts.


In the current blogpost, we have answered if Effy has bipolar. We have also checked out the various signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder that Effy portrays in the show, ‘Skins’. Additionally, we have explained the causal factors behind her mental illness.

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