Every book about bipolar disorder explains that itís a tricky and difficult disorder to diagnose. Yet, every book about bipolar disorder has a list of symptoms that can be ticked off identifying themselves as signs of this disease. So why is bipolar disorder hard to recognize.
After all, the wild mood swings of bipolar disorder should be most apparent to everyone. From depression for no apparent reason to an over energized, rapid talking conqueror of the world should make a diagnosis of bipolar disorder easy. But thatís where words actually fail not only the medical community, but especially the person suffering with bipolar disorder.
Letís first look at the fact that for the average person with bipolar disorder there exists an eight-year interval between the very first episode of a depression or the manic signs and the first time bipolar disorder is actually diagnosed and treated.
The symptoms which we so easily describe on paper actually take a life of their own as they interlink with the person who suffers from bipolar disorder. Those who know the person suffering from bipolar disorder best are in the most unique position to actually observe that something is wrong.
But beyond that, even when two people agree on a personís core personality, there are very often two separate reasons as to the cause in the change of that personís behavior. One may suspect bipolar disorder, but the other observer may have other perfectly logical reasons for the change in behavior that have nothing to do with bipolar disorder.
Psychiatrists and psychologists and other mental health issues for a living who diagnosis bipolar disorder obviously think of bipolar disorder as a cluster of symptoms. They take these symptoms, evaluate how many and how long youíve struggled with them. From that they decide whether you are plagued with bipolar disorder.
On the other hand, the person who is struggling with possible signs of bipolar disorder sees these signals as part of ďlifeís experiencesĒ. The symptoms of the possible bipolar disorder are very much secondary in their minds to the actual factors which provoked them.
Then there are the concerned family members who may or may not see these behaviors as symptoms of bipolar disorder. Members of the family are more likely to view these behaviors as mere extensions of the individualís personality.