7 Questions Psychiatrists Ask To Diagnose Bipolar Disorder

5. Taking More Risks

A manic episode makes a person more impulsive, so they are more prone to take risks. A doctor needs to understand whether the person is just acting out or if this behavior is starkly different to their normal behavior. Questions like “Have you done things that you would consider risky” are asked to both the patient and the caretakers. Manic episodes are much more risky than a hypomanic one, with patients driving and spending recklessly, and even taking part in dangerous sexual encounters. However, excessive behavior that cannot be controlled is also a part of the risk taking, such as excessive shopping.

6. A Surge In How Positively You Feel About Yourself

A manic or hypomanic episode comes with elevated mood that can raise a person’s confidence, self-esteem and optimism well above the normal range. For example, a patient can tell the clinician that they feel like they’re doing well with their job and because they’re feeling so good, they want to quit now and start that business venture they’ve been planning for years without a concrete plan. Questions like “Have you felt smarter, more successful or attractive lately?” can be asked.

7. Family History

A family history can be extremely helpful when trying to diagnose bipolar disorder. The risk of developing bipolar disorder increases significantly for those who have close family members with the disease, such as a parent or a sibling. Moreover, asking these questions to both the patient and the family member can work out well because often, a patient does not fully understand what is going on and cannot always answer questions completely and truthfully.

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