Millionaire Hospitalized After Bipolar Spending Spree

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Ed Bazinet Could Have Mild Bipolar

Bazinet's wealth reportedly is up there with Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch and Warren Buffet.

"The fact that he had money may mean he is not even severely manic," said Galynker, who has not treated Bazinet. "If it were severe, he would have little money, what is called the downward drift of mental illness. They don't have much status in society and cannot do much damage unless they are aggressive."

But those with Bazinet's wealth can have mild symptoms and function seemingly normally within the context of their fast-driven worlds. They can do the most damage to those around them, according to Galynker.

"Most around them don't even realize it's an acute manic episode," he said. "He can squander $2 million and then go to work. He is in a contagious good mood. These people are charismatic, attractive to women and good salesmen, and no one sees their indiscretions and poor judgment."

He called it the "Teflon factor."

Although Bazinet is well past his 20s, Galynker said the depressive episodes of bipolar disorder may have begun earlier in his life.

"And when you are hyperactive, you can be highly productive," Galynker said. "In fact, some of his fortune may have resulted from his symptoms."

Bipolar expert Dr. Ronald R. Fieve described bipolar excessive spending in his book, "Moodswing": "The lifestyle of the manic-depressive who is in a high tends to be a glorious scattering of money," he wrote.

It can also manifest itself as giving grandiose gifts to others or overspending on pornography or prostitution.

Fieve, who works in private practice in New York City and is on the faculty of Columbia Presbyterian Hosptial, said the understanding of the disorder "is not new -- it's old hat."

In 1958, he did clinical trials on the drug lithium that was a breakthrough in the treatment of bipolar disorder.

"It's been hot news lately," said Fieve. "There is hypersexuality around the world and not just spending sprees -- the whole Eliot Spitzer story and Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

Celebrities such as Hollywood producer Josh Logan and CNN magnate Ted Turner also have struggled with bipolar disorder.

"Most of these people are not wealthy to begin with -- they are self-made men with incredible energy and conquer the world," Fieve said. "It starts when he drops out of college at 25 and makes a couple of million by 26 and by 28 or 29 he gets $100 million. ... He gets higher and higher with minor lows and the highs get bigger.

"[Bipolar individuals] start themselves on cocaine and alcohol and that fuels the depressed side," said Fieve.

The Bazinet story is "absolutely classic," he said. "I have treated more people on Wall Street and some pretty good scandals have come into my office over the years."

But, he cautioned, it's not the money that causes the disorder, but genetics.

"Most of them have not inherited their wealth," he said. "They begin from the bottom up and go to the top. They are incredibly ambitious and extroverted and don't need more than four of five hours of sleep a night."

"They have a father, an uncle a mother or a cousin who had a suicide or abused alcohol or who was manic depressive," said Fieve. "They are born this way."

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