The primary purpose to diagnose someone as having bipolar disorder is to determine the course of the illness and to best medically treat the disorder.
Since bipolar is a psychiatric disorder there is not a simple blood test to find out if a person has the disorder. A bipolar diagnosis is done by learning the patients symptoms, the onset of different moods and how the moods affect the patient. Moods and though processes are examined as well as speech patterns and general behaviors.
When the diagnosis has been made the psychiatrist can then determine the future course of the illness and then effectively treat the bipolar disorder.
Some of the common drugs used to treat a person with bipolar are – Depakote, Lithium, Lamictal, Prozac, Pazxil, Zoloft and Wellbutrin. These drugs are for anti-depression and mood stabilization. Proper dosage is not always easy to determine and a new bipolar diagnosis is treated with low dosages before the proper dosage is determined. Medication does not always eliminate the bipolar moods and the patient may require weekly or monthly visits.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor:
How soon can I expect to see improvement?
How long do I need to be on the medications?
How often do I need to return to the doctor?
Do I need to see a psychiatrist?
What else can I do to help improve my condition?
What if the current medication does not work?
Will there be side effects from the medications?
Will my day-to-day activities be affected when on the medications?
Find out exactly which Bipolar Disorder you have. It could be Bipolar I, Bipolar II. Which is the less extreme form of Bipolar Disorder?