Q: Must-Have Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
What are the chances of getting an incorrect Bipolar diagnosis?
What are the eliminating criteria for other diagnosis? Alternatively,what are
the Bipolar must have symptoms.
thanks for the opportunity. Looking forward to your reply. Would appreciate
your answering all or partofthe question above
Dear Mona --
Try my little essay on "sensitivity and specificity" of the only
"test" for bipolar disorder, to start. As far as must-have
symptoms, which is a good way to think about it, there's no solid
research. In my experience, if somebody is sleeping just fine, that's
almost a "rule out" right there. It isn't perfect though, and
as an individual, what you're looking for is an absolute call; unfortunately,
in this business, we don't have that.
Let's see, any other "must-have"?
Some energy symptom, I guess: anxiety, agitation, or profound fatigue,
lethargy, lack of motivation when the depressions hit -- those are at least so
common that if they aren't present in some form, I'd wonder more. Good
on ya' for thinking hard about it. After a while thinking like this, it
comes down to trying a mood stabilizer or two (most people in your
circumstance have already been offered at least one antidepressant trial...)
to see what happens. That isn't going to offer a sure
"diagnosis" either, as getting better on a med doesn't prove you
have what that med' treats in others; but at that point, the whole issue loses
some steam, yes?
Published July, 2001