Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis & Treatment
Doctors do not completely understand why bipolar disorder occurs. There is evidence to support that bipolar disorder typically runs in families and if a parent or other close relative has bipolar disorder, there is a more likely chance that you may have it as well. If you discover a family history of bipolar disorder it is recommended that you make an appointment with a counselor who can help you better understand how it evolves as well as refer you to a professional if you fear you may be experiencing it.
Getting a definite diagnosis of bipolar disorder depression is difficult. There are no tests available that can diagnose bipolar disorder though tests may be performed to rule out other conditions that could alter a patient’s mental state. To be diagnosed with bipolar disorder a doctor or therapist will ask a series of detailed questions about your symptoms and family history. To be positively diagnosed the patient must have had at least one manic episode that lasted a minimum of one week, unless hospitalized during this episode. During a manic episode, the patient must exhibit at least three symptoms of mania such as wild and irrational behavior, racing thoughts, acting extremely irresponsible or participating in dangerous activities (these are just some of the symptoms of mania).
It is important to remember that there is no cure for bipolar disorder, but it can be managed with medicine and therapy. Mediations such a mood stabilizers will need to be taken daily. Antipsychotics can be used during manic episodes and antidepressants are used during depressive phases, but must be monitored closely. The doctor or therapist of the bipolar patient will determine the amount of therapy needed to help control their bipolar disorder. It is also important to get the patient's family and friends involved in the treatment so that they can better understand bipolar disorder, as well as how it affects their loved one.
Bipolar disorder affects more than 3 million Americans, which equals about 1% of the American population. It usually begins in people aged 15-24 and occurs equally between females and males.