How to Diagnose Bipolar Disorder

How to Diagnose Bipolar Disorder


At this time there is currently no laboratory tests to confirm a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. However, there are many tools a clinician can use to see if a patient does indeed have the disorder. Bipolar Disorder is difficult to diagnose because of its vacillating symptoms. In general, there is no consistency to the symptoms of the disorder, which makes it difficult for the clinician to pinpoint. We’ll explain what tools a clinician has and what are their limitations.

  1. Step 1

    There is a written assessment that tries to identify the disorder called the “Mood Disorder Questionnaire“. The purpose of this assessment is to allow the clinician to identify the disorder in an objective manner. Only a clinician can provide a diagnosis based on this survey.

  2. Step 2

    The clinician may also use anecdotes to strengthen a case for or against a diagnosis. The clinician, while not resting solely on this evidence, is given an opportunity to view and assess the patient’s life and behavior. Anecdotes coincide with the “Mood Disorder Questionnaire” and helps the clinician develop a more informed viewpoint.

  3. Step 3

    Every clinician should try to identify if any physical ailments may be causing bipolar symptoms. Common ailments that mimic Bipolar Disorder are thyroid conditions, AIDS, and brain tumors. This is the only time a clinician can use physical tests and examinations to come to a correct diagnosis.

Tips & Warnings

  • All in all, diagnosis of bipolar disorder is difficult because it can mimic other diagnoses and their is no clear-cut test that identifies the disorder.
  • However, tools are in place to help the clinician come to an educated decision.

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