How should my child be evaluated for bipolar disorder?

Because of the difficulty in diagnosing bipolar disorder in youth, it is critical to get a longitudinal perspective of the child's behaviour to determine how best to understand what is observed on any given day. A thorough evaluation should be done by a healthcare professional, who should:
  • Create a timeline to determine the episodic nature of symptoms and their relationship to relevant developmental issues
  • Conduct a structured interview to determine differential diagnosis and/or other comorbid conditions that may exist
  • Generate a 3-generation or diagram to determine family history and family dynamic information
  • Administer a symptom severity (depression and mania) rating scale
  • Complete a global rating scale to track outcomes
  • Generate a mood log so the family can monitor treatment and share results with treatment providers

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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.