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Diagnosis & Symptoms

These pages contain articles and links regarding information about the characteristics and symptoms of bipolar disorder, diagnostic criteria, and what the warning signs of depression, mania and suicide look like to an observer.
  1. Bipolar Disorder Quizzes (1)
  2. Defining Bipolar Disorder (14)
  3. Gender Issues (1)
  4. Moods / Episodes (83)
  5. Psychosis (15)
  6. Specifiers (3)

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - DSM-5
The controversial new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, known as the DSM-5, was released in May 2013. There were many changes from the previous edition, the DSM-IV-TR - some of them extremely controversial. Here is a look at the DSM-5 and some of the controversies.

What Led to Your Bipolar Diagnosis?
Share with others the events and symptoms that led to your bipolar diagnosis. Some people are diagnosed after episodes of mania or hypomania. Others are initially diagnosed with depression and later receive a diagnosis of bipolar disorder when manic or hypomanic symptoms appear. The defining event may be something that leads to arrest and/or hospitalization. What led up to your bipolar diagnosis?

What's Wrong With Me? Do I Have Bipolar Disorder?
It is perfectly normal to have days where you feel low and days when we are on top of the world. The emotional rise and fall of life is part of the human condition. So how can you tell when your experiences are normal and when they’ve pushed into the extremes of depression or mania associated with bipolar disorder?

What Is the Mood Disorder Questionnaire?
The Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ) is a screening tool developed by a team of psychiatrists, researchers and consumer advocates led by Robert M.A. Hirschfeld with the University of Texas Medical Branch. It is a brief, self-administered questionnaire that was developed to screen for bipolar disorder.

Is There a Bipolar Disorder Test?
A lot of people would love for there to be a bipolar disorder test. The truth is, there are no tests for bipolar disorder - yet. But genetic science may one day provide the means to test for mood disorders, so a future bipolar disorder test is not impossible.

How is Bipolar Disorder Diagnosed?
Diagnosing bipolar disorder is not as easy as diagnosing a cold or even diabetes. It takes time and careful analysis of the patient's mental, medical and family history.

Diagnosing BP: Ruling Out Other Physical Conditions
Bipolar Disorder is a difficult condition to diagnose. There are a number of physical conditions that can mimic the presentation of or have similar symptoms to bipolar disorder. This article outlines these illnesses.

Diagnosing BP: Ruling Out Other Psychiatric Conditions
The list is rather long of psychiatric conditions with symptoms similar to those of bipolar disorder. To further complicate the picture, most of these disorders can also occur concomitantly with bipolar disorder. Here is a review of the major conditions that fall into this category.

Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder Versus Major Depression
Many people are first diagnosed with depression or anxiety when they actually have bipolar disorder. Research in this area indicates one in two will first be told they have depression and one in four will be told they have anxiety. Researchers have been able to identify five predictors that accurately predict when those diagnosed with depression...

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
The hallmark symptom of bipolar disorder is mood swings of depression and mania. It can also feature mixed episodes, rapid cycling, psychotic features and other complications. Suicide is another serious issue for those diagnosed with this disorder. Further, a great deal more is now known about the symptoms associated with early-onset bipolar disorder in children.

Why Can't I Accept My Diagnosis?
Perhaps one explanation may be a physical condition known as anosognosia. This condition, believed to be caused by damage to the right side of the brain, affects as many as 40 percent of those with bipolar disorder.

Red Flags to Common Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder - Warning Signs and Behaviors
Behaviors and symptoms that are warning signs of bipolar disorder in adults and children. Also: information on diagnosing bipolar disorder and treatment options for people with bipolar.

Diagnosis in Doubt
From the “I’m Bipolar” series. At five months from diagnosis, the author is in limbo, not sure whether Bipolar Disorder is the right diagnosis.

I'm Bipolar?
Today I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, when all this time I thought I just had clinical depression. The clues are in my mental health history. Now I'm wondering what this diagnosis and the new medications mean for my future.

Regaining Perspective
A few suggestions for regaining perspective in living with the realities of Bipolar Disorder.

Taking Stock
From the “I’m Bipolar” series at 12 weeks after diagnosis, the author's mood, though stable and even comfortable, is not acceptable.

Bipolar I Disorder
A technical presentation of diagnostic criteria for Bipolar Disorder type I as presented by Internet Mental Health.

Bipolar Symptoms
Bipolar disorder is often not recognized by the patient, relatives, friends, or even physicians. In its early stages, bipolar disorder may masquerade as a problem other than mental illness. Found here is an overview of symptoms that can be associated with this disorder.

Diagnostic Categories for Bipolar Disorder
This article lists six forms of bipolar disorder, and discusses the characteristics of the most common forms.

Finding Bipolar Disorder with MRI
Researchers continue to push to find a tool such as magnetic resonance imagers (MRIs) to diagnose bipolar disorder. John Port of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, shares, "I'm dedicating the rest of my career to coming up with an imaging test that will help psychiatrists diagnose bipolar disorder and other illnesses.�

European Diagnostic Criteria
A technical presentation of diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder in Europe.

Diagnostic Differences Between Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia

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