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Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Bipolar Disorder (Children and Adolescents)
Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder
What should the steps be in trying to identify if someone in my family has a type of Bipolar disorder?
Will there be sevaral trips to the doctor or will one trip be enough to determine if he has a type of bipolar disorder?
Family member is a 17y/o male.
Hello and thank you for your excellent questions.
Assuming the 17-year-old male in question is having problems right now, the first step is to contact a mental health professional (psychiatrist, psychologist or social worker) to obtain a comprehensive psychiatric assessment. This assessment should screen for:
- all the possible psychiatric symptoms a teen could have at this age (including alcohol/drug abuse)
- his developmental history
- history of family's psychiatric diagnoses
- medical history
- a history of his mood throughout his life and specific questions about depressive and manic symptoms, both currently and, because mood disorders are episodic, in the past
This information is usually collected via clinical interviews with the patient and his caregivers and questionnaires the patient, caregivers and teacher(s) complete. It usually takes two or three visits.
Hope that helps. Best wishes.
Nicholas Lofthouse, PhD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University