Does Lip have bipolar? (+3 Causal factors)

This detailed article will be answering if Lip has bipolar. We will also be checking out some of the signs and symptoms of mental health issues that Lip experiences in the series, ‘Shameless’. Finally, we will be listing a few causal factors which could have contributed to these issues.

Does Lip have bipolar?

No, Lip does not have bipolar. In the show ‘Shameless’, Lip Gallagher definitely suffers from some undiagnosed mental illness, but certainly not bipolar disorder. At the same time, the character suffers from an alcohol addiction.

As a result of his struggles with alcohol addiction, Lip Gallagher even is hospitalized for alcohol addiction. He even goes into rehab but this does not seem to be successful since until the end of the show, Lip is still very much a drunk and continues to abuse alcohol.

While his mental struggles can be mostly blamed on his Alcohol Addiction disorder, there are many other theories which have been tossed about when it comes to Lip Gallagher. Some of the alternate diagnoses for Lip Gallagher are listed as follows,

  • Bipolar disorder: Bipolar disorder heavily runs in the Gallagher family with Ian Gallagher being diagnosed with the illness in the show. The illness was mostly passed on from Monica Gallagher, the family matriarch.

Therefore, it is no surprise that many fans of the show jump to the conclusion that Lip Gallagher too might be suffering from this mood disorder. Lip Gallagher actually does show several signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder throughout the show.

For instance, he is often portrayed to be a very impulsive and reckless person who partakes in many dangerous activities. This can be misunderstood as a sign of mania which is a part of bipolar disorder.

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Another alternate diagnosis that is tossed out when it comes to Lip Gallagher is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. However, this is not easily welcomed since Lip does not portray many symptoms of anxiety.

The main reason for the assumption that Lip might be suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is that the character grows up in a very dysfunctional family which could have actually been abusive in an indirect form.

As an alcoholic, Lip also finds himself in many dangerous and emotionally unhealthy situations, which could have left deep emotional scars on his psyche. At the same time, there are hardly any instances of Lip experiencing stress & anxiety as a result of his upbringing.

  • Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia: Some mental health experts and fans who have deeply studied the show ‘Shameless’ and the characters within have also felt that Lip Gallagher might have BPSD.

 Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia or BPSD is basically a collection of neuropsychiatric symptoms which occur along with dementia. Some of these symptoms include agitations and irritability.

Lip Gallagher has not been diagnosed with dementia in the show ‘Shameless’, but it is still a theory which sticks since dementia can be induced by alcohol as well. Chronic and heavy consumption of alcohol can lead to Vitamin B-1 deficiency which leads to dementia.

Lip Gallagher is certainly addicted to alcohol and drinks copious amounts of it throughout the series. It can be theorized that he actually may have dementia induced by alcohol which leads to his various neuro-psychiatric symptoms.

Signs of Lip’s mental health issues

Lip Gallagher is mostly seen struggling with alcohol addiction in the show ‘Shameless’ and definitely needs professional help. He portrays a number of signs and symptoms of mental health issues throughout the series, some of which have been explained in the following section.

He is clearly addicted to alcohol

Lip Gallagher’s struggles with alcohol addiction are not a secret and almost everyone knows that he cannot go a day without a bottle. His addiction with alcohol is the root-cause of all his problems and also worsens his struggles with mental health.

Interestingly, Lip is the Gallagher kid who swears off his father and yearns to never be like him. At the same time, Lip did not realize until it was too late that he was the Gallagher kid who turned out to be most like his alcoholic father, Frank.

Frank and other Gallagher siblings understand all too well that Lip certainly is struggling with alcohol addiction and many times try to get him to find help. Lip only seeks help much later by joining a 12-step program.

He does not make use of his intelligence

Between the Gallagher kids, Lip is the one who shows a lot of promise since he is blessed with tremendous intelligence. However, he does not make proper use of his intelligence by getting a degree and pursuing a realistic career.

He tries to use his intelligence to get easy money though. For instance, he earns a quick buck by taking the SATs for other kids. He is also lucky enough to get into college but still managed to throw a promising journey away by dropping out.

Even when he is seen going to college Lip has poor attendance and does not go to all the classes. It is his sheer intelligent brain that helps his pass many of the tests. Dropping out of college is pretty common in mental illnesses like bipolar disorder and even depression.

He cannot control his emotions

Lip Gallagher also finds it very hard to control his emotions. His emotions and feelings can be seen flaring up with even a very small trigger factor. He shares this characteristic trait with the rest of the Gallagher siblings.

He also does not show any guilt or remorse for the pain. This can also be seen as a sign and symptom of some underlying mental illness which the character seems to suffer from. This problem could also be caused by the large amounts of alcohol that Lip consumes.

He takes part in risky behaviors

Lip Gallagher frequently takes part in very risky and dangerous activities without thinking about the legal consequences. This further points to the presence of some mental illness in Lip Gallagher, and is characteristic of diagnoses like Borderline Personality Disorder and bipolar.

The risky activities that Lip Gallagher takes part in can also be termed as highly immoral. For example, he does not hesitate to sell alcohol and drugs to children from Kevin’s ice cream van. He also has a fling with a child molester which goes to show how demented he actually is.

He lacks motivation

Throughout the episodes, Lip Gallagher can be moving very sluggishly and rarely showing motivation and enthusiasm to complete even basic daily activities. This form of retarded movements is characteristic of mental illnesses like depression and even dementia.

Causes of Lip’s mental health issues

Lip’s drinking problems and other mental health issues are the by-products of a number of causal factors. A few of the factors which could have contributed to the various mental health issues that Lip Gallagher could have suffered from are listed below.

  • His family history: The Gallagher family history of mental illness is definitely a strong causal factor when it comes to Lip’s mental health issues. Lip’s mother was diagnosed with bipolar disorder which passed on in some form to the children.
  • His alcoholic father: Frank Gallagher, who is the patriarch of the Gallagher family, is a certified alcoholic. While Lip states that he does not want to become like him, he eventually follows the same pattern and becomes addicted to alcohol.
  • His high intelligence: Lip is naturally blessed with high intelligence, but uses this for illegal and get-rich-quick ideas. In many cases, high levels of intelligence have been researched to be associated with alcoholism in adolescents.


This detailed article has answered if Lip has bipolar. We have also checked out some of the signs and symptoms of mental health issues that Lip experiences in the series, ‘Shameless’. Finally, we have listed a few causal factors which could have contributed to these issues.

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