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A Test For Bipolar Disorder?

Question:

Is there a definitive test which can be given by a mental health professional which will rule out Bipolar Disorder in late adolescence?

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Answer:

Sort of. Bipolar disorder is not an ‘on’ or ‘off’ sort of thing where you can do a test and have a definitive diagnosis. The standard way that a bipolar condition is diagnosed is to have a clinician determine that core symptoms of bipolar disorder are present, and that no other condition exists that would contradict the diagnosis of bipolar disorder. There is some variation amongst different clinicians, however as not all doctors will diagnosis the same person in the same way.

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p>The best, most reliable and standardized diagnosis tool in existence that I’m aware of is a structured interview called the SCID (Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV) which is a long series of questions administered by a trained professional. Because the SCID has predefined pathways for asking questions – the right questions are always asked and minimal important information is missed. The SCID is not perfect because it still depends on the judgement of clinicians – and despite the best training – differences of opinion can occur. If you are looking for the ultimate in reliable diagnosis, however, a SCID derived diagnosis, confirmed by other clinicians who are familiar with the patient is about as tight and stable as you can get.

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