Assessment For Bipolar Disorder: Identifying Symptoms That Impair Mental Health

Assessment for bipolar disorder should be undertaken with the aid of a clinician trained to identify symptoms. Psychiatric evaluation is recommended, because this is a complex condition that is not always easy to identify.

Manic-depressive illness is serious and it needs to be treated with appropriate medications to reduce and control symptoms and to prevent episodes from worsening and becoming more frequent.

A bipolar disorder test will determine classification of the illness. Two subtypes of the condition are delineated: type I presents with hypomania, mania, depression, and psychosis, whereas the second classification, type II, is characterized by recurring episodes of hypomania (elevated or expansive mood, without the impairment in judgement seen in mania) and depression.

A doctor will assess history of symptoms, genetic factors, and possible stressors that may have contributed to the condition. Assessment for bipolar disorder will take into account age, duration of symptoms, severity, and cyclic nature.

A bipolar disorder test will evaluate mood states that are seen in this illness. When individuals are manic, they may exhibit elated or irritable mood and may have engaged in dangerous and high-risk behaviors that have caused harm to themselves or others. Inappropriate sexual activity, violent behavior, substance abuse or uncontrolled spending may be red flags of an illness that can cause major disruptions in family life, in social functioning, and that can compromise occupational objectives.

Assessment for bipolar disorder will also include an evaluation of depressed mood states, which are often more common. An individual who is overly sad, who has no interest and low energy levels, who has experienced appetite and sleep changes, who has lowered self-esteem or has entertained suicidal thoughts may be exhibiting one side or face of manic-depressive illness.

Approximately 20% of all patients will have their first episode during adolescence. A bipolar disorder test will often result in a diagnosis rendered to those between the ages of 18 and 24.

In adults, this is usually an episodic condition with a variable course. Sadly, individuals who do not obtain treatment may experience ten or more episodes. It can be seen that assessment for bipolar disorder is an important step for someone grappling with mood fluctuations and emotional disturbances.

Obtaining help for this condition is a sign of personal strength, not one of weakness. It takes courage to admit you may have an illness and it takes commitment and effort to overcome complex symptoms. A bipolar disorder test may be the first step in freeing yourself from the chaotic quality of life you may have been trying to navigate through.

Your doctor may recommend a mood-stabilizing drug, along with an antidepressant. At times, antipsychotic medications may be administered. Newer drugs such as risperidone, olanzapine, and quetiapine have been shown to be effective for acute mania.

Psychosocial interventions commonly used for bipolar disorder are cognitive behavioral therapy (addressing negative thought/behavior patterns), psychoeducation (understanding and recognizing symptoms), and family therapy.

Additionally, nutritional approaches may offer relief from symptoms. Exciting discoveries about herbal remedies are making headlines. Research reveals that omega 3 fatty acids show efficacy that is equal to or that exceeds conventional medications; SAMe has been shown to be helpful for the depressive symptoms of manic-depression; both folic acid and B12 contribute to the manufacturing of serotonin and other neurotransmitters—deficiencies of either are linked to depression. Studies also suggest a link between folate deficiencies and mania. It is always important to obtain qualified advice before undertaking any remedy, including use of natural supplements, because some substances could trigger mania.

After receiving an assessment for bipolar disorder, it may be helpful to plan a treatment strategy.

Most illnesses involve a number of factors and treating them often involves more than one approach. A bipolar disorder test may evaluate symptoms and help with a diagnosis, but the next step is a treatment that embraces a number of effective strategies.

No stone should be left unturned in seeking help for manic-depressive illness. Undergoing an assessment for bipolar disorder is a courageous first step, in the quest for better mental health, as you continue on your journey to wellness.

Athlyn Green is an avid health enthusiast with an interest in natural remedies for treatment of health disorders. She has contributed to Bipolar Disorder Test, a section of dedicated to natural treatments and prescription drug alternatives for this disorder.

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