Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder

2013 Bipolar Update

Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder

Knowing the not-so-pleasant effects of a bipolar disorder on so many levels of a patient’s life, it is only proper that diagnosing bipolar disorder is important towards developing an affective treatment program.

Years before bipolar disorder became a disease that was fully understood, patients had to suffer through their lives without the promise of healing. Thankfully, today medical science has progressed to a stage where it is able to spot the disorder at an early stage and thereby increase the chances of treatment before the illness advances.

What’s surprising however is that diagnosing bipolar disorder is a task that is not achievable in the laboratory. Unlike other medical conditions where a test or two confirms a disease, diagnosing bipolar disorder requires painstaking analysis of observable symptoms before the presence or absence of the illness is conclusive determined.

There are two important facets to diagnosing bipolar disorder:

§ Personal and family history - While bipolar disorder has not been conclusively proven to have a genetic cause, it is well-known that having a history of it in the family raises the risks for other members of the family. As such, getting information about other members of the family with regard to mental illness, or even a psychological evaluation to try and determine potential triggers and causes, would go a long way into ascertaining the time frame, potential severity, and overall tendencies for a patient. This is perhaps the most important part of diagnosing bipolar disorder because it helps paint a picture of the illness from the perspective of those who have already been through it.

§ Medical history. Specifically, this refers to the observed symptoms that triggered the need for a full medical evaluation in the first place. The patient’s mental faculties such as memory and reasoning are also analyzed as well as social behavior and the ability to sustain and maintain relationships. Diagnosing bipolar disorder, in this phase, helps determine the exact specifics of the disease pertaining to the patient’s case.

It should be noted that there are several illnesses that might be wrongly diagnosed as bipolar disorder; hence, being able to conclusively assess the symptoms and histories are very important. According to some medical references, illnesses like lupus, syphilis, and HIV can manifest as bipolar disorder causing a wrong treatment plan. This can significantly delay recovery, not to mention be costly to the patient.

As soon as you suspect that a loved one has a bipolar disorder, do not delay in taking them to the doctor. Diagnosing bipolar disorder at an earlier stage can help prevent progress of the disease. Consequently, earlier detection would pave the way for more effective treatment as there is a big chance the disease would be receptive to lower dosages of medication and other treatments than if the illness was in a more advanced stage.

Once a bipolar disorder had been diagnosed and treatment started the patient will be on the path to getting their lives back together and in order. However, one must remember to stay with their treatments for as long as the doctor feels it is necessary as a relapse could occur if the treatments were halted.

Hopefully this article on diagnosing bipolar disorder has been informative. Our site has a huge amount of good articles concerning bipolar disorders and how to deal with them.