How to Diagnose Bipolar Disorder


Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder that is characterised by sudden and intense emotional changes that may result in behaviour that is otherwise uncharacteristic of the person suffering from it. This can range from a shift in activity levels, to major shifts in mood and focus.

Bipolar disorder can be classified as three distinct types, and all of these involve some kind of change in mood or disposition, energy levels, or physical activity. Changes in mood can range from positive emotional states such as elation, to negative states such as irritation. Energetic states are normally known as manic episodes, while states of dysphoria are known as depressive episodes.

Because of the nature of bipolar disorder, diagnosing tends to be a bit difficult, and a combination of different methods is employed for accuracy.

If you think you or someone you know suffers from sudden and unwarranted mood changes, you might want to consider consulting or having them consult a specialist. We recommend these Best Psychiatrist in Lahore.

Types of Bipolar Disorder

Type I

This type of the disorder is characterised by long-lasting manic episodes of at least 7 days, or by manic episodes that are extremely intense and require immediate hospitalisation. Depressive episodes also usually accompany this type, which can also last for weeks. Both manic and depressive episode symptoms may also present themselves at the same time.

Type II

Manic episodes that are not very severe are also sometimes called hypomanic episodes, and these are characteristic of Type II Bipolar disorder. A pattern of hypomanic and depressive episodes defines this type.

Cyclothymic Disorder

This type’s characteristic long-lasting hypomanic and depressive episodes of at least 2 years do not meet the requirement in terms of severity for diagnosis of ‘episodes.’ This type can also be diagnosed in children, if the mild hypomanic and depressive symptoms last for at least a year.

If one’s bipolar symptoms do not fit into any of these types, the diagnosis may be more general: ‘other specified and unspecified bipolar and related disorder.’

Diagnosing the Disorder

First, it must be noted that periods of depression or negative feelings are common, and don’t necessarily warrant a look into bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder mood changes are very severe and are very noticeable to people around those that suffer from it. If you notice these changes and don’t feel like you can control those shifts, that’s when you might need to consider consulting a professional.

In order to rule out other conditions before suggesting bipolar disorder as the source of your problems, a physician may order you to undergo blood tests and other tests. Thyroid dysfunction can also cause depressive symptoms, and it’s important to ensure that this and other conditions are not at the root of your symptoms.

Following this initial elimination, you will have to undergo a psychological evaluation which entails questioning about general mental health, symptoms and risk factors. Risk factors may include a family history of the disorder, as well as a history of drug abuse. Your psychologist may look into the views of friends and family on the situation, ask you about your feelings during and after potential episodes, and how much control you feel you have during them.

In order to accurately diagnose the disorder, doctors use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

If you believe you or someone else may be suffering from bipolar disorder, you should consult a professional as soon as possible. These Best Psychiatrist in Karachi are great options if you reside in the area.

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