November 15, 2022 Therapy

Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis and Treatment Options

explained text: 5.6 million Americans. 2.6 percent of the country's population bipolar

Bipolar disorder, manic-depressive illness, is a chronic mood disorder that causes changes in behavior and energy levels. Manic and hypomanic episodes are the main symptoms of the condition, and most individuals with bipolar disorder also have depressive episodes. Bipolar disorder typically manifests in late adolescence or early adulthood and is strongly inherited.

This mental health condition affects nearly 5.7 million Americans, or 2.6 percent of the country’s population. It occurs in people of all sexes, races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds and is occasionally confused for ADHD. Medication, talk therapy, lifestyle modifications, and other treatments can help you manage the disease.

How Is Bipolar Disorder Diagnosed?

A mania or hypomanic episode, or both, must have occurred at least once for bipolar disorder to be identified. Mental health professionals use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) to determine the type of bipolar disorder a patient may be experiencing.

Your mental health professional evaluates the pattern of symptoms and how much they interfere with your life during the most severe episodes to decide what form of bipolar disorder you may have. Your healthcare professional may employ a variety of methods to identify bipolar disorder, including:

Physical Exam: Your doctor may conduct a physical examination and lab tests to identify any medical problems causing bipolar disorder symptoms.

Psychiatric Evaluation: The doctor or bipolar disorder specialist will take a thorough psychiatric history. You will be asked about your

mental illness symptoms, the cause of the issue, prior treatments, and any family members who have experienced mood problems. Bipolar disorder may be present if you go through extraordinarily high and low mood swings.

Blood Test: In most cases, medical professionals recommend people experiencing bipolar disorder a blood test. Blood tests prove pretty helpful in identifying and diagnosing the root cause.

Mood Charting: You may be asked to provide a list of your sleep patterns, mood swings, and other factors that can be helpful diagnose and finding the proper treatment for

bipolar depression.

Criteria For Bipolar Disorder: Your psychiatrist can compare your symptoms to those included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) by the American Psychiatric Association, which contains the diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder and associated disorders.

Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis In Children

Although the same criteria used for adults diagnose bipolar illness in children and teenagers, the patterns of symptoms in these age groups frequently differ. It’s possible that they don’t neatly fit into the diagnostic groups.

Additionally, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or behavioral issues are frequently diagnosed in children with bipolar disorder, complicating the diagnosis. It is advised to refer a child to a psychiatrist with knowledge of the bipolar disorder.

The Treatment Options For Bipolar Disorder


Your doctor may recommend residential treatment if you behave dangerously, feel suicidal, or become detached from reality and your family members. Getting psychiatric treatment in a hospital can help you feel calm and stabilize your mood, whether you have a manic or major depressive episode.


Psychotherapy, sometimes known as “talk therapy,” can be a valuable component of a bipolar illness patient’s treatment regimen. “Psychotherapy” refers to various therapeutic methods to help you recognize and alter unhelpful feelings, attitudes, and behaviors. Working with a mental health specialist list, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist, can offer you and your family support, knowledge, and direction.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

The emphasis is on identifying unhealthy, unfavorable ideas and actions and swapping them out for healthy, favorable ones. Cognitive behavioral therapy can assist in determining what precipitates your bipolar episodes. You also pick up helpful coping mechanisms for stressful circumstances. You investigate how your thoughts impact your emotions in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Additionally, you learn how to replace negative thought patterns and behaviors with more constructive ones. The treatment of bipolar disorder focuses on symptom management, avoiding relapse triggers, and problem-solving.

Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT)

IPSRT focuses on stabilizing daily rhythms, including sleeping, waking, and mealtimes of a person. A regular schedule enables better mood regulation. Setting up a daily plan for restful sleep, healthy food, and regular exercise may be helpful for people with symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Substance Abuse Treatment

If you have problems with alcohol or drugs, you’ll also need substance abuse treatment. Otherwise, it can be challenging to treat bipolar disorder.


Several people with bipolar disorder need medication to keep their symptoms under control. Medication continued on a long-term basis can reduce the severity of bipolar mood episodes and sometimes prevent them entirely. Suppose you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In that case, your doctor will find the right drug or combination of medicines you and your loved one need. Everyone responds to the medication. You may have to try several remedies before finding one that relieves your symptoms of depression.

Medical professionals occasionally use antidepressant medication to treat depressive episodes in patients with bipolar illness. The antidepressant is combined with a mood stabilizer to avoid the onset of a manic episode. Since taking an antidepressant alone can result in a manic episode, antidepressants are never recommended as the sole treatment for bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder is treated with a variety of drugs. Your medical professional will prescribe specific drug types and dosages based on your symptoms. Medications might consist of:

Mood stabilizers: Mood-stabilizing drugs are generally recommended to cure hypomanic or manic episodes. Lithium (Lithobid), lamotrigine, divalproex sodium (Depakote), and valproic acid carbamazepine are mood stabilizers.

Antipsychotics: An antipsychotic drug, like olanzapine, risperidone, quetiapine, aripiprazole, ziprasidone, lurasidone, or asenapine, may be suggested if symptoms of mania and depression continue despite treatment with other medications. Your healthcare provider may offer some of these drugs alone or with a mood stabilizer.

Antidepressant medicines: To help you manage depression, your doctor might prescribe an antidepressant. An antidepressant is typically administered with a mood stabilizer or antipsychotic since it can provoke a manic episode.

Antidepressant-antipsychotic: Symbyax combines the antidepressant, the antipsychotic olanzapine, and fluoxetine. It functions pretty well in treating depression treatment and as a mood stabilizer.

Anti-anxiety medications: Benzodiazepines may help with anxiety disorder and improve sleep quality but are generally used on a short-term basis.

Lifestyle changes: You can carefully manage your lifestyle to reduce

symptoms of depression and mood swings. This means maintaining a regular sleep schedule, abstaining from drugs and alcohol, consuming foods that elevate mood, exercising regularly, lowering stress levels, and ensuring consistent sunlight exposure throughout the year.

Educating Individuals Regarding Bipolar Disorder: A detailed understanding of your illness is the first step in managing symptoms and avoiding complications. The more information you and your family members have on bipolar disorder, the better equipped you’ll be to prevent issues and handle setbacks.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do you test for bipolar?

To diagnose bipolar disorder, a doctor can recommend a physical examination, ask about common symptoms, and recommends a blood test to identify if another condition, such as hypothyroidism, is causing the symptoms. If the doctor does not find an underlying cause of symptoms, they perform a psychological evaluation.

What are the signs of bipolar disorder?

Feeling sad, hopeless, and irritable most of the time.

Low energy and mood swings.

Difficulty concentrating and remembering things, places, and events.

Loss of interest in everyday activities.

Feelings of emptiness or worthlessness.

Feelings of guilt, anxiety, and despair.

Feeling pessimistic about everything.

What are the four stages of bipolar?

Mania, hypomania, depression, and mixed episodes are the four major types of bipolar disorder.