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Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is not found with tests. Your mental health problems and health are used to find out whether you have it.

You will have:

  • A visit with your doctor—Your doctor will ask about your mental health problems. You will also be asked about your health and other people in your family who have had mental health problems. Your doctor may want to talk to your family and other people who are close to you.
  • Physical—Your doctor will do an exam. You may be given lab tests to rule out other causes for your health problems.
  • Mental health exam—A mental health specialist will talk to you about:
    • The problems you have had over time
    • Other people in your family who have had this problem

Bipolar disorder. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: Updated August 20, 2018. Accessed September 25, 2018.

Bipolar disorder in adults. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: Updated November 2015. Accessed September 25, 2018.

Management of bipolar disorder in adults. US Department of Veterans Affairs website. Available at: Published May 2010. Accessed September 26, 2018.

Mason BL, Brown ES, Croarkin PE. Historical underpinnings of bipolar disorder diagnostic criteria. Behav Sci (Basel). 2016;6(3):E14.

Price AL, Marzani-Nissen GR. Bipolar disorders: a review. Am Fam Physician. 2012;85(5):483-493.

Last reviewed September 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD  Last Updated 9/25/2018