Patients with bipolar disorder are often misdiagnosed with unipolar depression in many circumstances. The reason is related to the lack of knowledge of doctors or patients about manic and hypomanic symptoms. Doctors diagnosed him with bipolar disorder, prescribed psychiatric medications that didn't work, and sent the San José family on a nightmarish odyssey through psychiatric wards, group homes, and isolation wards. It is widely recognized that the greatest challenge to avoiding misdiagnosis is to differentiate bipolar depression from unipolar depression.
Several studies also suggest that patients with bipolar disorder are often misdiagnosed with other disorders. The APA72 guidelines for the treatment of bipolar depression recommend not using antidepressant monotherapy (no mood stabilizer), but unfortunately they make no distinction between bipolar I and bipolar II depression. Therefore, a doctor who stops with a patient's primary anxiety complaint may overlook more subtle symptoms of bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder used to be called manic depression because it is characterized by episodes of depression and episodes of mania.
Rather, its presence should increase the physician's suspicion of bipolar disorder and lead to even greater scrutiny (both in terms of past history and future evolution) for manic and hypomanic symptoms. In addition to scales, research has found that observed symptoms are useful tools for evaluating a patient's bipolarity. For people who are misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder, a potential pitfall may involve health problems that result from taking the prescription medications used to treat the condition, according to Zimmerman. Sometimes, even with a thorough investigation and careful consideration of the data obtained, doctors still do not receive the bipolar diagnosis.
After diagnostic evaluation, the instrument that has been reported to be most useful in the diagnostic process of bipolar disorder is the Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ). Manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder may not be as obvious and may be confused with other behaviors, such as those commonly found with ADHD (fast speech, inability to concentrate) because the person may not have had a manic episode until later in life. Therefore, hypomania is less likely to be recognized by mental health professionals, the person with bipolar H II, or their close family and friends. Sometimes, a person with bipolar disorder doesn't have a precise memory of their past moods.