Bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder that causes periods of manic and depressive episodes. Bipolar can be a severe condition and have an immense impact on an individual’s daily life, including their professional and social life. Accurate diagnosis and treatment of bipolar are crucial to prevent the condition from having adverse effects on an individual’s life and overall health.
Bipolar Disorder Types
There are two main types; bipolar I and bipolar II. Bipolar I is characterized by severe manic episodes but can also cause depressive episodes. Bipolar II, on the other hand, causes periods of less severe manic and depressive symptoms. Some people may also have symptoms that do not fit the criteria of either type, in which case their bipolar disorder type is referred to as non-specified.
Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis
There was a time it was quite difficult to diagnose bipolar as it could be mistaken for depression or even schizophrenia. Thankfully today, with our more in-depth understanding of mental health, doctors recognize symptoms much more easily, as well as treat the condition much more effectively.
Unfortunately, bipolar is not a disorder that can be diagnosed using a blood test or scan, so the only way to diagnose it is to discuss symptoms such as changes in behavior and mood swings. The most important aspect of the diagnosis process is the discussion of symptoms, from their frequency to their severity.
Doctors make use of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, also known as the DSM, to reach an accurate diagnosis. Some symptom highlights are periods of irregularly elevated or down mood, low energy, and insomnia.
You may also be asked to complete a checklist or questionnaire about your symptoms to provide your doctor with a clearer picture. Your doctor may also ask you questions about your medical history and history of mental disorders in your family as bipolar disorder can be run in families.
Some symptoms of bipolar such as changes in mood, energy, and behavior are shared by some other mental health disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, borderline personality disorder, and anxiety disorders, so it is important to seek medical attention for a diagnosis.
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