Bipolar symptoms test
One test result doesn’t make a bipolar disorder diagnosis. Instead, your doctor will use several tests and exams. These may include:
- Physical exam. Your doctor will do a full physical exam. They may also order blood or urine tests to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms.
- Mental health evaluation. Your doctor may refer you to a mental health professionalsuch as a psychologist or psychiatrist. These doctors diagnose and treat mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder. During the visit, they will evaluate your mental healthand look for signs of bipolar disorder.
- Mood journal. If your doctor suspects your behavior changes are the result of a mood disorder like bipolar, they may ask you to chart your moods. The easiest way to do this is to keep a journal of how you’re feeling and how long these feelings last. Your doctor may also suggest that you record your sleeping and eating patterns.
- Diagnostic criteria. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is an outline of symptoms for various mental health disorders. Doctors can follow this list to confirm a bipolar diagnosis.
Your doctor may use other tools and tests to diagnose bipolar disorder in addition to these.
Bipolar disorder treatment
Several treatments are available that can help you manage your bipolar disorder. These include medications, counseling, and lifestyle changes. Some natural remedies may also be helpful.
Recommended medications may include:
- mood stabilizers, such as lithium (Lithobid)
- antipsychotics, such as olanzapine (Zyprexa)
- antidepressant-antipsychotics, such as fluoxetine-olanzapine (Symbyax)
- benzodiazepines, a type of anti-anxiety medication such as alprazolam (Xanax) that may be used for short-term treatment
Recommended psychotherapy treatments may include:
Cognitive behavioral therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of talk therapy. You and a therapist talk about ways to manage your bipolar disorder. They will help you understand your thinking patterns. They can also help you come up with positive coping strategies.
Psychoeducation is a kind of counseling that helps you and your loved ones understand the disorder. Knowing more about bipolar disorder will help you and others in your life manage it.
Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy
Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT) focuses on regulating daily habits, such as sleeping, eating, and exercising. Balancing these everyday basics can help you manage your disorder.
Other treatment options
Other treatment options may include:
- electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
- sleep medications
There are also some simple steps you can take right now to help manage your bipolar disorder:
- keep a routine for eating and sleeping
- learn to recognize mood swings
- ask a friend or relative to support your treatment plans
- talk to a doctor or licensed healthcare provider
Other lifestyle changes can also help relieve depressive symptoms caused by bipolar disorder.