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Rejecting the Bipolar Disorder Test for a Qualified Diagnosis Instead

There is no magic bipolar test to check for Bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is not single disease or disorder, but it's a blanket term to cover an entire category or range of mood disorders.

Unfortunately, there's no simple, quick and easy test to diagnose people suspected of experiencing bipolar disorder. In fact, this ailment isn't even a single disorder. Rather, it's a term used to describe a number of mood disorders that are identified by mania or manic episodes, bouts of depression, and possibly psychotic episodes. One of or all the above can be present, making a simple and easy test for the disorder difficult to put together.

How Bipolar Disorder is Diagnosed

A diagnosis of bipolar disorder is typically based on the patient's own assessment of their behavior or reports from family, friends or peers. These are then paired with the signs observed by nurses, psychologists or other medical professionals. 

While there are no single tests to check for bipolar disorders, a patient must meet a particular list of requirements to be diagnosed with it.

Psychological Tests to Check for Possible Onslaught

A doctor may ask a series of questions that pit a patient's symptoms or behavior patterns against a list of criteria for diagnosing the disorder. However, there is no single bipolar test used by psychiatric professionals the world over. There are also no biological tests to check for its presence.

However, there are certain tests that should be run on a patient before diagnosing them as a way of ruling out potential medical illnesses which may be causing mental or psychological symptoms. These include testing for TSH levels, doing a full blood count and conducting a brain scan to check for possible tumors or lesions.

While there are no biological tests to diagnose bipolar disorder, there have been recent developments in brain scanning for common patterns. In 2005, the Mayo Clinic announced that it was working on a method which uses magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (MRSI) to observe and identify specific patterns of metabolic activity that are common to afflicted patients.

How the Affliction can be Misdiagnosed

Because there are no biological tests for bipolar disorder, it can often be misdiagnosed. In fact, many patients are often diagnosed with depression, addiction, schizophrenia or other afflictions before finally being correctly assessed with bipolar disorder.

Classification of the Disorder

Bipolar disorder diagnoses are typically divided into four major classifications, based on the patient's symptoms and history. These categories include:

Bipolar I: In this category, the patient has experienced at least one manic episode that may or may not have been followed by a bout of depression.

Bipolar II: Bipolar II is identified by more hypomanic episodes than typical manic expressions. The patient must have also exhibited at least one major depressive incident. Hypomanic episodes are often not as extreme or debilitating as manic versions.

Cyclothymia: Cyclothymia is characterized by hypomanic episodes and depressive episodes that are not major. For example, the patient experiences hypomanic episodes alongside depressive instances, but those depressive ones aren't debilitating.

Bipolar-NOS: Bipolar NOS stands for Not Otherwise Specified. It is a blanket term that doctors use to diagnose a patient as bipolar, but without a classification. For Bipolar-NOS, a traditional bipolar test or interview may not be as effective for diagnosing the patient.

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