It is best to prepare for your first appointment for a bipolar disorder assessment with a psychiatrist.

You may have already talked with your regular doctor and gotten a referral for a psychiatrist who will assess you to see if you should be given a formal diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

Here are some things you can do for your bipolar disorder assessment appointment. You’ll also learn what to expect.

— The psychiatrist will want to know the symptoms you’ve had that led you to believe you have bipolar disorder. Write down everything you’re experiencing health-wise that’s unusual, even if it doesn’t seem to relate to your mental health.

— Make note of recent major life events or stressful situations you’ve experienced in your life.

— Write down the medications and vitamins you take.

— Prepare a list of questions to ask the doctor so that you don’t miss anything you want to know. Also ask questions of the doctor if he or she says something you don’t understand.

 

You will be asked questions during your appointment to assist the psychiatrist in making a bipolar disorder diagnosis if that is the case.

–Some of the questions the doctor will ask will likely ask include how long you’ve had symptoms of mania, depression or hypomania. He or she will want to know if you have suicidal thoughts and how often your moods change.

— Other questions could include the level of severity of your symptoms and if they impact your daily routine and relationships. Your loved ones may have noticed your symptoms before you so gather some feedback.

— The psychiatrist will also want to know any other physical or mental health conditions you may have even if you don’t think it relates to bipolar disorder.

— You’ll be asked about your sleep habits and about possible use of drugs and/or alcohol.

— The doctor will also want to know if you have blood relatives with bipolar disorder as this can impact your risk level for having the disease.

 

If you can, take a close friend or relative with you to your bipolar disorder assessment appointment. There is a lot of information to process during your appointment and it’s good to have someone else there with you for support.

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