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Recognizing Bipolar Disorder
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Recognizing Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, sometimes called manic depression, can be hard to detect because the symptoms can be similar to other mood disorders. Some people have the condition for 10 years or more before a healthcare provider diagnoses it.

The reason for this might have to do with the symptoms. When people are feeling manic or hypomanic, they are full of energy. They usually feel good. They feel "high on life" and don’t always seek help.

On the other hand, people are more likely to seek help when they fall into depression. When people feel depressed, they are likely to describe only depression symptoms to their healthcare provider. They may not mention the times when they are feeling “high on life,” since depression is what they are feeling at the time. Therefore, it’s common for a person to be incorrectly diagnosed with major depression instead of bipolar disorder.

In fact, nearly half of all patients who have bipolar disorder, sometimes called manic depression, will first be diagnosed with major depression. That’s why it’s important for people to say how they’ve been feeling weeks and even months before today to their healthcare provider in order to make it easier for the right diagnosis.

Many of the signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder can also be associated with other illnesses, such as anxiety disorders and schizophrenia. This can make it even harder for a healthcare provider to make a correct diagnosis.

Signs and Symptoms


Mood Disorder Questionnaire

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