how did they come up with this disorder?

by cheryl

is there testing that can be done for Bipolar Disorder to know for sure? I've done 3 tests. Are there more?

Thank you for you time
Cheryl Peterborough

Ben's Answer:

Testing for Bipolar Disorder is normally based on questionnaires and personal history of symptoms that meet the criteria. Honestly, the diagnostic criteria always change over time. So the definition of Bipolar Disorder is always expanding to include more people on the fringes of the diagnostic range. Of course this benefits drug companies enormously and keeps doctors busy too.

There is no medical test for Bipolar Disorder or any other psychiatric disorder. The whole "chemical imbalance" theory is often used to play upon people's fear in order to get them to buy into the chronic illness belief.

The fact is, a person can have Bipolar Symptoms for a variety of reasons. The main purpose in getting a formal diagnosis, is to open the door to treatment. For most Americans, that treatment is primary restricted to the taking of medications. Quality therapy is good for everyone (in my opinion) - so whether you actually fit the bill for "Bipolar Disorder" or not, it should help your life to have regular weekly therapy. Medication on the other hand, if not given appropriately, may cause a whole host of other problems. For example, a person with a history of depression, having never had any definite signs of bipolar disorder, can become manic (and get diagnosed with bipolar disorder) due to an antidepressant.

Research also shows that a large portion of people who take antidepressants for their depression actually experience more chronic depressive episodes over the long term.

Always start with the lowest-risk interventions for treatment.

It's more important to feel good, then to figure out your diagnosis.

Take Care,
Ben Schwarcz, MFT
Santa Rosa Psychotherapist

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