Preparing for Your Appointment

After you make an appointment for bipolar disorder diagnosis and treatment, there are some steps you can take to make your visit a smooth one.

  • Write down any symptoms you've had, frequency of symptoms, any aggravations including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
  • Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
  • Make a list of all medications, as well as any vitamins or supplements that you're taking. Include the dosage you take.
  • Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to soak up all the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
  • Make a list of any conditions you’re currently being treated for or have been in the past, along with dates.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Bipolar Disorder

You should also bring a list of questions you have about bipolar disorder to your appointment. Review the following list of common concerns before you go, or print it out to take with you.

Questions About My Diagnosis

  • Is bipolar disorder likely causing my symptoms or condition?
  • Other than the most likely cause, what are other possible causes for my symptoms or condition?
  • What kinds of tests will I need?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What web sites do you recommend I visit for more information?

Questions About My Treatment

  • What treatment is likely to work best for me?
  • Should I see a psychiatrist or other mental health provider? What will that cost, and will my insurance cover seeing a specialist?
  • What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you’re suggesting?
  • I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
  • Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you’re prescribing me?

Questions About My Lifestyle

  • What are changes required in my current lifestyle including diet? Will I be able to work efficiently?
  • Is it hereditary disease? Will I pass the condition to my children?
  • Does bipolar disorder have anything to do with my disturbed childhood development?
  • Which family members should know about my disorder?
  • If we have a family history of diabetes, blood pressure or cholesterol, could that worsen my bipolar symptoms?
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