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Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder
- Initial assessment—Your doctor will ask about your symptoms. You will also be asked about your medical and family history. Your doctor may want to interview your family members and/or other people close to you.
- Physical exam—Your doctor will do a physical exam. You may be given several lab tests to rule out other causes for your moods and behavior. Those causes could include hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism . If a physical cause for your symptoms is ruled out, you may be referred to a psychiatrist for a psychological evaluation.
Psychological evaluation—After you see your regular doctor, a psychiatrist will be able to evaluate your symptoms. Diagnosis of bipolar disorder is based on:
- Presence of symptoms over time
- Absence of medications that could cause mood symptoms or medical or neurological illness that may look like bipolar disorder
- Family history of bipolar disorder
American Psychiatric Association. Practice guideline for the treatment of patients with bipolar disorder (revision). Am J Psychiatry. 2002;159:1-50.
Bipolar disorder. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us . Updated August 15, 2013. Accessed September 5, 2013.
Bipolar disorder. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder/index.shtml . Accessed September 5, 2013.
Carson RC, Butcher JN. Abnormal Psychology and Modern Life . 11th ed. New York, NY: Allyn and Bacon; 2000.
DSM-5. American Psychiatric Association website. Available at: http://www.psychiatry.org/dsm5 . Accessed September 5, 2013.
Kaye NS. Is your depressed patient bipolar? J Am Board Am Pract. 2005;18:271-281.
Price AL, Marzani-Nissen GR. Biploar disorders: a review. Am Fam Physician. 2012;85:483-93.
- Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
- Review Date: 09/2014
- Update Date: 09/17/2014