Assessment for Bipolar Disorder

delasseBipolar Disorder Assessment should be done by a professional. Here are some things they should look for and discuss at an assessment:

If you are the person experiencing mood changes, a friend or family member may mention it to you or you might come to the conclusion on your own.  Your inquiry oftentimes starts with looking at information on the internet.

This is where the assessing begins.  People then usually go to their primary care doctor.  If they think they meet the criteria for bipolar disorder, they will refer them to a psychiatrist or some place/person that can better diagnose them.

The assessment usually starts with surveys or questionnaires. However, it should be more thorough and in depth.  It should cover the person’s life including their current circumstances, their triggers, the way they view the problem, coping strategies, and where they will get support.  An evaluation can result in other diagnoses before the correct one is found and can take 5 years to figure out.

During the evaluation period, the person doing the diagnosis should go over several things including:

  • Do you have any history with mental illness in your family?
  • What makes you think you have bipolar disorder?
  • What is your physical health like?
  •  What are your sources of stress and how do you deal with it?
  • What are your goals?
  •  What are your currently struggling with?
  •  What are your triggers?
  • What are the warning signs?
  • What were all the previous episodes like and what was it like in between the mood changes?
  •  What are you individual strengths?
  •  How do you cope?
  • What are your support networks?

It can be difficult to make a proper diagnosis for several reasons. That is because the experiences are usually misidentified as unipolar or depression first.  The hypomnic mood states are often missed.  That is why when be assessed, it is important that it is very thorough.

It can be difficult to figure out what normal behavior is and therefore hard to determine what hypomania would look like for that person.

Also, other things can present like bipolar disorder, but aren’t.  For example it could be a head injury, trauma, a tumor, diabetes, thyroid problems, among others.  Many times, alcohol or drug abuse masks the bipolar disorder as people will self medicate.  Therefore, it is difficult to determine the underlying cause.

If the assessment is done correctly and the person is diagnosed with bipolar disorder then that is just the beginning of a long road the person and their psychiatrist will endure to figure out ways to help them.

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About Michelle Clark Bipolar Bandit

I am a strong advocate for the mentally ill and have been since I was first approached by a lawyer in a psychiatric facility as a teenager. He wanted me to help him fight how the mentally ill are mistreated. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 17 after a full blown manic episode. Before that, I suffered from debilitating depression for 4 years. My goals are to help others by sharing my story and providing tips to deal with mania and depression. I often write blogs related to advocating for people like myself. I want to encourage, inspire, and educate those with #bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses and also include inspirational #quotes. I founded the group Advocates for People with Mental Illnesses and the page Mental Health Advocates United and have several social media sites that are related to bipolar disorder and/or advocacy. If you are an advocate or would like to be, I hope you join our FB group: Advocates for People with Mental Illnesses
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2 Responses to Assessment for Bipolar Disorder

  1. manyofus1980 says:

    Good info. Ty for sharing this. xo

  2. karen v fisher says:

    thank you for this info…my son has bipolar and after 7 years has finally agreed to meds…I’m on a FB website, all young people looking for advice,,,they all seem to be on meds…I’m going to post your info…maybe some of them are not getting the proper help, they’re from all over the world and alot of their parents are not educated on mental illness…

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