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Bipolar (Manic-Depressive) disorder
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Bipolar (Manic-Depressive) disorder

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MENTAL HEALTH

Mental Disorders

From MayoClinic.com

Screening and diagnosis

Your doctor may ask you or a family member who has accompanied you about your signs and symptoms and to describe apparent episodes of mania and depression. Diagnosis also involves ruling out other mental health conditions that may produce some symptoms similar to bipolar disorder. These may include other mood disorders, sometimes schizophrenia, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or borderline personality disorder.

You may also undergo tests to see if your mood swings are due to physical causes, such as:

  • Substance abuse. Abuse of alcohol, marijuana and cocaine may affect your moods.

  • Thyroid disorders. A blood test for thyroid function can determine whether you have a thyroid disorder, such as an underactive thyroid.

Your doctor may also ask about your use of medications, alcohol and recreational drugs, and your diet. Certain medications including corticosteroids, such as prednisone, and medications used to treat depression, anxiety and Parkinson's disease can cause mood swings. Abuse of alcohol and recreational drugs also can cause mood swings. Deficiency of vitamin B-12 may alter moods as well.

Complications

Other problems, such as anxiety disorder or alcoholism, may affect people with bipolar disorder. The length, severity and frequency of mood swings vary from person to person. In some people with bipolar disorder, there is rapid cycling, with more frequent and shorter periods of mood disturbance.

It's also possible for mania and depression to be present at the same time. In this mixed state, people experience combinations of agitation, disturbances in sleep and appetite, suicidal thoughts and psychosis. Psychosis is a major mental disorder in which the personality is disorganized and contact with reality is impaired, often including auditory hallucinations and delusions — firmly held erroneous beliefs.

Bipolar disorder > 1 > 2 > 3 > 4 >

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This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
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Last Modified : 03/14/08 07:05 PM