Introduction to Bipolar Tests
There are many different exams and tests that doctors can do to determine if someone has what is known as bipolar disorder. These exams and tests can not only rule out other issues but they can also pinpoint a diagnosis and check for complications that may be related. Tests include:
• Physical which involves getting your weight and height, checking blood pressure, heart rate and temperature as well as examining the abdominal area and listening to your lungs and heart.
• Lab tests that can include urinalysis and blood work. These tests are used to determine if there may be a physical cause for your symptoms.
• A psychological evaluation will include a doctor talking to you regarding your feelings, thoughts and patterns of behavior. You might also need to fill out a questionnaire or other psychological assessment form. You will also be asked to give permission to the medical personnel to interview your close friends or family members regarding not only symptoms but also episodes of depression or mania.
• A doctor or other mental health person may also ask you to keep records of your moods as well as sleep patterns or any other issues that might help in diagnosing you and getting you started with the right regimen of treatment. This is known as mood charting.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are some criteria that are required in order to diagnose bipolar disorder. They are as follows:
Criteria for Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder
In order to be diagnosed with this disorder you have to have all of the criteria that is outlined in the Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. This manual is a publication of the American Psychiatric Association and is what is utilized by providers of mental health care in diagnosing mental conditions and also utilized by insurance companies as a guide for reimbursement when their clients are treated for such disorders. The criteria for bipolar will vary depending on the type of bipolar disorder. Tiday, we will talk about only one type.
In order to be diagnosed with this disorder, a patient must have experienced at the minimum 1 mixed or manic episode. There may or may not have been a depressive episode that can be categorized as a major one. This type will differ with different people so it needs to be understood that there are subcategories that offer a more specific diagnosis depending on the specific symptoms and signs of the patient.
A manic episode is one in which there is a period of distinct abnormality with a mood that is expansive, irritable or elevated and is consistent through a period of time lasting at least a week. During this time frame, 3 or more symptoms must be present unless the mood is irritable in which case 4 must be present.
• Less of a need for sleep
• Talking at a rate that is unusual
• Thoughts that race
• Increased activity that is goal directed
• Activities that can end with painful consequences
If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms it is recommended that you seek help.