Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder

A diagnosis is made via a medical professional’s evaluation and sometimes blood and urine tests to rule out other disorder.

The diagnosis of bipolar disorder is based on specific lists of symptoms (criteria).

However, individuals with mania may not accurately report their symptoms because they do not think anything is wrong with them. As a result medical professionals often have to obtain information from family members.

Individuals and their family members can use a short questionnaire to help them evaluate the risk of bipolar disorder, for example the Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ).

Medical professionals also ask individuals whether they have any thoughts about suicide.

Medical professionals review the drugs being taken to check whether any could contribute to the symptoms. They may also check for signs of other disorders that may be contributing to symptoms. For example, they may do blood tests to check for hyperthyroidism and blood or urine tests to check for drug abuse.

Medical professionals determine whether individuals are experiencing an episode of mania or depression so that the correct treatment can be given.

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