As with other psychiatric disorders, bipolar disorder cannot be identified physiologically (for example, with a blood test or an X-ray). Therefore, the diagnosis is made based on symptoms, course of the illness, and family history, when available. A thorough medical evaluation should always be included in the workup to rule out any other medical problems. Psychiatric measures have been developed that may be used to screen for symptoms of a bipolar disorder, such as the Bipolar Spectrum Diagnostic Scale or Mood Disorder Questionnaire.
Last reviewed on 9/20/2010
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