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Avoid Over-Diagnosis of Bi-Polar Disorder. Tips from a NYC Psychotherapy Specialist

Is bi-polar disorder being over diagnosed by the psychiatry community? Are patients being treated for symptoms they don’t have? These are the questions raised by NYC-based Dr. David Salvage and other leaders in the field of psychotherapy. Because the treatment of bi-polar disorder often relies on mood-stabilizing medication, an accurate diagnosis is essential to avoid unnecessary side effects.

The following is a list of symptoms most often associated with bi-polar disorder. This list is meant to be informative and not to be used as a diagnosis tool. If you are concerned that you suffer from bi-polar disorder, please talk to you doctor.

Extreme mood swings.

Mood swings in bi-polar disorder fluctuate between the extremes of mania and depression. The Euphoria often leads to a dramatic emotional crash into depression. Each phase may last anywhere from days to months, and change without warning.

Mania or hypomania.

Bi-polar mood changes can be extreme. The high end of the spectrum is call Mania or hypomania and includes symptoms like feeling abnormally upbeat or wired, increased energy and agitation, decreased sleep, racing thoughts, poor decision making, impulsivity and more.

Depressive episodes.

During this end of the bi-polar cycle, patients are often despondent, feel sad or hopeless and experience a lack of energy. They are often unable to concentrate or experience either insomnia or sleeping too much.

Disorganized behavior.

Because of the extreme fluctuation in mood, bi-polar patients are often disorganized and irritable. They might cry easily or experience impulsivity and restlessness.

Unwanted thoughts and delusion.

Patients experience a lack of concentration during both extreme feelings. Additionally, thoughts often race or there might be a lack of focus.

Physical symptoms.

Despite the fact that bi-polar is a mental disorder, it often leads to physical and external symptoms. Some of these include a lack of sleep or over sleeping, weight loss or weight gain, frenzied speaking and other symptoms that can be observed and help with diagnosis.

Some studies suggest that as many as 20% of people who are labeled as bi-polar are actually misdiagnosed, leading to an overall over diagnosis of the disease. If you suspect that you may have bi-polar disorder and you struggle with these symptoms, schedule an appointment with a doctor to discuss your symptoms. Psychotherapy specialist Dr. David Salvage is available for appointments from two NYC offices in Brooklyn and Tribeca.

David Salvage, MD, FAPM

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