Bipolar I disorder is often diagnosed based on a number of tests, including a physical exam and lab studies. It also involves a psychological evaluation. Here, a doctor will talk with you about your symptoms and possibly have you fill out self-evaluations about your behavior, thoughts, patterns, and feelings.
Your doctor may also ask permission to talk with your friends and family members about your symptoms. People experiencing extreme mania may not think they have a problem, so input from others can help.
Finally, your doctor may ask you to chart your moods and some of your daily activities so you can identify any patterns in your mood swings.