If you think you may be suffering from bipolar disorder or any other mental health condition, it is important to seek help from a doctor for proper diagnosis and support. There are no specific blood tests or brain scans that can diagnose bipolar disorder, but a doctor can perform a physical exam and order laboratory tests to rule out other conditions that may be causing the symptoms. To diagnose bipolar disorder, your doctor may perform a physical exam, conduct an interview, and order laboratory tests. Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterized by episodes of mania (or hypomania) and depression.
Depression is unipolar, meaning there is no episode of mania. The term bipolar depression could be used to describe the depressive episodes of someone experiencing the ups and downs of bipolar disorder, but it is not a clinical diagnosis in and of itself. If your family doctor thinks you may have bipolar disorder, they will usually refer you to a psychiatrist, a doctor who specializes in mental health problems. Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that causes drastic changes in a person's mood, energy, and ability to think clearly.
Severe bipolar episodes of mania or depression can include psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations or delusions. Some people with bipolar disorder also have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which usually develops before bipolar disorder. It's also possible to experience other mental health conditions at the same time as bipolar disorder. Depression associated with bipolar disorder may be more difficult to treat and require a personalized treatment plan.
If the diagnosis is negative for bipolar disorder, but you still have symptoms, a health professional can test you for a similar condition, such as schizophrenia or depression. To be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a person must have experienced at least one episode of mania or hypomania. Other health professionals may be able to reverse or correct a misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder. People with bipolar disorder experience high and low moods known as mania and depression, which differ from the typical ups and downs experienced by most people. One of the reasons bipolar disorder can be difficult to diagnose is that it can have symptoms similar to those of other mental health disorders.
Most of the time, bipolar disorder is misdiagnosed in its early stages, which often occurs during adolescence. To be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, the person must have experienced at least one depressive episode and one manic or hypomanic episode. Although the diagnosis of children and adolescents with bipolar disorder includes the same criteria used for adults, symptoms in children and adolescents tend to have different patterns and may not fit perfectly into the diagnostic categories.