Does Fiona have bipolar? (+3 Causal factors)

In this detailed post, we will be discussing if Fiona has bipolar. We will also be looking at the various signs of mental health issues that Fiona Gallagher portrays in the series, ‘Shameless’. Finally, we will be checking out the main reasons behind Fiona’s mental health issues.

Does Fiona have bipolar?

No, Fiona does not have bipolar. Fiona Gallagher, from the series ‘Shameless’ does not portray many signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder. However, it is pretty clear that the character definitely suffers from some mental illness.

‘Shameless’ follows a dysfunctional family and their various struggles to get through life with no stable incomes, all the while coping with their personal mental health issues. Fiona is basically the mother-figure for the Gallagher household and took care of all her other siblings.

While it is true that Fiona indeed does not have bipolar disorder, numerous other theories have been thrown about regarding her actual diagnosis. Some of the alternate mental health issues that Fiona might be suffering from are:

  • Borderline Personality Disorder: Many mental health experts and loyal viewers who have studied the show ‘Shameless’ and its characters have theorized that Fiona might be actually suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder.

The character can be seen having many emotional breakdowns throughout the episodes, although she does not discuss them so openly. She also frequently lashes out in anger at others and goes through several flimsy relationships.

Furthermore, Fiona shows many impulsive and reckless behaviors, like substance abuse and even addiction to sex. All these signs and many more point to the fact that Fiona might be actually suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder.

  • Depression: The main reason why viewers of ‘Shameless’ feel that Fiona does not have bipolar disorder is because she does not seem to portray any manic episodes in the show. However, she can be seen going into depressive phases many times.

As a result, Fiona may be actually suffering from depression. While her depression is not evident in the first couple of seasons, Fiona finds herself in a sticky situation with too many stressors in season 9 which ultimately leads to a breakdown.

When she goes through her meltdown, Fiona can be seen finding it difficult to cope with even simple tasks and activities. She basically feels like a completely different person, all of which are tell-tale signs of depression.

  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Another theory is that Fiona Gallagher might have Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Fiona can be often pretty narcissistic in nature, but definitely does not fit all the criteria of this personality disorder.

This is mainly theorized due to the fact that Fiona shows very high self-confidence at times, as a result of which she has put the family’s livelihood at severe risk. At the same time, this can be a by-product of her other mental health issues as well.

  • Dissociation: Fiona Gallagher also can be seen dissociating on more than one occasion in the series, ‘Shameless’. One important example of this is when Fiona is alone in the house and says goodnight to herself.
  • Alcoholism: Alcoholism is another mental health issue in Fiona Gallagher and is clearly shown in the series. Fiona also is confirmed to be an alcoholic since she goes to AA meetings. Her spiral into full-blown alcoholism is also gradual.

The turning point in Fiona is when she finds herself passed out next to Frank which makes her realize she is becoming a lot like her alcoholic father. After this, Fiona tries to improve her life and changes her habits for the better.

Signs of Fiona’s mental health issues

Fiona Gallagher’s mental health issues in the series ‘Shameless’ have been discussed openly and deeply but have not been pinpointed to an exact clinical diagnosis. In the following points, we have discussed the various signs of Fiona’s mental health issues.

She goes through many relationships

Fiona Gallagher definitely goes through many inter-personal and romantic relationships in the series. Her relationships are not just sexual in nature, but can range extremely. She might call her partner ‘perfect’ at one instance and might immediately break-up for no reason at all.

Fiona’s substance abuse problem

Fiona also has a serious substance abuse problem. This is shared by her other siblings as well who also have the same issue. Fiona often abuses drugs and also involves herself in binge-drinking.

This maladaptive pattern actually becomes worse whenever she is faced with some major stressor. Her problem also led to her little brother Liam being rushed to the hospital after he consumed the cocaine that she left out.

She shows hyper-sexuality

Another destructive trait that Fiona shares with the rest of her siblings is her hyper-sexuality. She shows an inclination towards sex, and at one point it becomes so reckless that she finds herself sleeping with strangers every other day.

She also shows an incredible appetite for sex that is not satisfied by the current partner she is with. As a result, she continuously cheats on her partners. She also stays with toxic partners as long as the sex was good for her.

She goes through anxiety attacks

While they might not be full-blown anxiety attacks, Fiona Gallagher definitely goes through a few in the show. Having frequent and recurrent anxiety attacks also indicate the possibility of some underlying mental illness and is also common in Borderline Personality Disorder.

Her anxiety can be seen when she irresponsibly spent $1000 for some club promotion and even she was apprehensive about leaving the children in a hotel with Jimmy. In these situations, Fiona can be seen experiencing anxiety and a great deal of stress for an actual controllable factor.

She has rage episodes

Fiona Gallagher can also be seen to get angry many times in the series. She can be constantly seen raising her voice and getting into screaming matches with others. Anger issues are often a reason for some subconscious anger at yourself and your bruised ego.

Her main anger issues crop up when she finds that she is not able to control everyone’s behavior around her, mainly in the Gallagher household. Anger issues actually become a major problem when they severely affect interpersonal relationships, as clearly seen with Fiona Gallagher.

Her drunken driving

There is no doubt that Fiona Gallagher is definitely an alcoholic. She consumes alcohol to a fault. While this is not too severe in the first few seasons, in season nine, this is pretty visible as Fiona goes broke and unable to bear the stress of it all.

In one episode, Fiona Gallagher gets so drunk and manages to drive away and then crash. Drunk driving and other such reckless activities are characteristic traits of bipolar disorder and even many other mental illnesses.

Her poor self-esteem

Fiona Gallagher can also be seen to suffer from very poor self-esteem and has confidence issues. Her poor self-esteem is reflected in the fact that she constantly changes jobs and careers and primarily has no other identity other than being the caretaker of her family.

Causes of Fiona’s mental health issues

Fiona’s mental health issues, although they are not specifically diagnosed in the show ‘Shameless’ can be blamed on a few factors. These are:

  • Fiona comes from a family which definitely has a long history of mental illness. Many mental illnesses follow such a pattern.
  • She also has a dysfunctional family and instead of being taken care of, she had to step in and take care of everyone around her. This further leads to stress and anxiety at such a young age.
  • In addition to the reasons mentioned above, her poor self-esteem might have also driven her to poorer mental health over the episodes. Poor self-esteem can lead to mental health issues and vice-versa which is basically a never-ending cycle.


In this detailed post, we have discussed if Fiona has bipolar. We have also looked at the various signs of mental health issues that Fiona Gallagher portrays in the series, ‘Shameless’. Finally, we will have checked out the main reasons behind Fiona’s mental health issues.

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