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Bipolar disorder in adults: Assessment and diagnosis

Trisha Suppes, MD
Victoria E Cosgrove, PhD
Section Editor
Paul Keck, MD
Deputy Editor
David Solomon, MD


Making the diagnosis of bipolar disorder is often difficult, and following onset of symptoms, many years may elapse until the diagnosis is established [1,2]. As an example, a self-administered survey in 441 bipolar patients found that 35 percent waited at least 10 years between first seeking treatment and receiving the correct diagnosis [3].

This topic reviews the assessment and diagnosis of bipolar disorder in adults. The clinical features of bipolar disorder in adults are discussed separately, as are the clinical features and diagnosis of bipolar disorder in children and adolescents, geriatric patients, and patients with rapid cycling (ie, four or more mood episodes in a 12-month period):

(See "Bipolar disorder in adults: Clinical features".)

(See "Pediatric bipolar disorder: Clinical manifestations and course of illness".)

(See "Bipolar disorder in children and adolescents: Assessment and diagnosis".)

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Literature review current through: Sep 2017. | This topic last updated: Sep 28, 2017.
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