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How is bipolar disorder diagnosed?

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If you or someone you know has symptoms of bipolar disorder, talk to your family doctor or a psychiatrist. They will ask questions about mental illnesses that you, or the person you're concerned about, have had, and any mental illnesses that run in the family. The person will also get a complete psychiatric evaluation to tell if they have likely bipolar disorder or another mental health condition.

Diagnosing bipolar disorder is all about the person's symptoms and determining whether they may be the result of another cause (such as low thyroid, or mood symptoms caused by drug or alcohol abuse). How severe are they? How long have they lasted? How often do they happen?

The most telling symptoms are those that involve highs or lows in mood, along with changes in sleep, energy, thinking, and behavior.

Talking to close friends and family of the person can often help the doctor distinguish bipolar disorder from major depressive (unipolar) disorder or other psychiatric disorders that can involve changes in mood, thinking, and behavior.

From: Bipolar Disorder WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCE:

National Institute of Mental Health.

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg on November 7, 2017

SOURCE:

National Institute of Mental Health.

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg on November 7, 2017

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How is bipolar disorder treated?

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