Although millions of people all over the world suffer from bipolar disorder, chances are they don’t even suspect they have the disorder because it is very difficult to detect bipolar patients, particularly if their affliction is not acute. In today’s world, we might as well ask: Who doesn’t have mood swings? Nearly all growing children and teenagers seem to be moody at some point in their lives. But bipolar patients, we can safely say, may end up being a victim of their moods all their life, if not treated. So it is important to detect bipolar patients for their own good.

  There are no clear tests that are able to identify this disorder. No blood or serum tests, or physiological examination can isolate and identify the suffering patient. How then, do you detect bipolar patients? Experts say that one can only go by the severity and frequency of the symptoms of bipolar illness. This covers the gamut of extreme emotional states from a euphoric high to a depressive low; from high irritability, manic high speed speech to social withdrawal; from lethargy and sleepiness and fatigue to hyperactivity, sleep disruption, and endless energy; from listlessness and lack of interest to a constant floating between thoughts and ideas, and inability to concentrate; and finally, from feeling like the king of the world to wanting to end your life.

  Bipolar patients can experience the disorder quite frequently or once in awhile. The level of the severity of disorder differs from person to person, from severe to mild. In fact it is very difficult to detect bipolar patients with hypomania - a mild form of this disorder. Sometimes, patients manifest two or three symptoms of the disease simultaneously. This can exist in children, but the level of intensity is not as high as that as in adults. In most of the cases, it has been seen that this personality disorder starts to appear in the early twenties.

  There are a few indicators which can help us detect bipolar patients. Since the illness typically manifests itself in young adulthood, say the early 20s, it is reasonable to look at troubled young adults to see if they are victims of this disorder. For instance, if they suffer from low self-esteem, are drug users or alcoholics, indulge in indiscriminate and unsafe sex with multiple partners, or in reckless spending or other irresponsible and dangerous behavior, or if their performance at work or college shows drastic fluctuations; if they have had classic manic depressive episodes, they could perhaps be suffering from bipolar disorder. Also, if any of these characteristics are seen in the children of those diagnosed with bipolar illness, they too could be potential patients.

However, only the trained eye of a psychiatrist, psychologist or any other mental health professional would be able to accurately detect bipolar patients. Only after a detailed face to face session with the patient can the doctor come to an accurate diagnosis. This too, needs a follow up interview with the patient’s family and friends. It is only after this that a course of medication, counseling and group support therapy recommended by the psychiatrist could the patient begin to experience wonders and slowly bring him back into the fold of normal life.

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