17.7.10

Exams and Tests for Bipolar Disorder


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There are no lab tests for bipolar disorder. Instead, your doctor will ask detailed questions about your symptoms, including how long they last and how often you have them. He or she will discuss your family history and may do a mental health assessment.

A mental health assessment tests your emotional functioning and your ability to think, reason, and remember. It includes an interview with a health professional, a physical exam, and written or verbal tests. During the interview, the health professional assesses your appearance, mood, behavior, thinking, reasoning, memory, ability to express yourself, and ability to maintain personal relationships.

Blood and urine tests, such as a test of your thyroid, may be done to make sure another problem is not causing your symptoms. A toxicology screen examines blood, urine, or hair for the presence of drugs.

Early Detection
The earlier bipolar disorder is diagnosed and treated, the better your chances of getting the illness under control and improving the quality of your life. Early detection and treatment can help reduce your risk of complications, such as alcohol and drug abuse or suicide.

About 10% to 15% of people with bipolar disorder will die from suicide.3 Up to 60% of those with bipolar disorder develop drug and alcohol abuse problems, which interfere with successful treatment of the disorder.

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