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Why is bipolar disorder difficult to diagnose?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Bipolar disorder is difficult to diagnose because many other conditions have similar symptoms. It may take some time for your doctors to know for sure that you have this disorder. Over time, though, by carefully documenting the changes in your symptoms and noting whether you respond well to the medications that work best for this disorder, they can be relatively sure of the diagnosis.

Although doctors have developed a set of well established criteria to help distinguish between bipolar disorder and straight depression, different doctors may interpret your symptoms in different ways. As always, if you are uncomfortable with a diagnosis or need additional reassurance it makes sense to get a second opinion. Regardless of the diagnosis, though, be sure to tell your doctor if your new medications make you feel differently—whether it's in a good way or in a bad way. This is important information that could really help your treatment plan.

Continue Learning about Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis

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How Is Bipolar Disorder Diagnosed?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.