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What Should I Do if I Think I Have Bipolar Disorder?

Medically reviewed by: D'Arcy Lyness, PhD

Bipolar disorder causes extreme ups and downs in a person’s mood and energy. It causes low-energy moods of depression. And it causes high-energy moods called mania. With the right care, people learn ways to manage these moods and move toward the good things they want in life.

Here’s what to do if you think your moods are more than normal ups and downs.

Talk to a parent. If you are concerned about your moods or think you may have bipolar, talk to a trusted adult. Share your concerns. Ask them to set up a visit with your doctor or a mental health provider.

See a doctor or mental health provider. At the visit, be upfront about what you’ve been going through. Ask questions

Get treatment. If a doctor diagnoses you as having bipolar, follow the treatment plan. Go to all your medical appointments and therapy visits. Be involved and ready to learn. This will help you get the most out of treatment. 

If a doctor prescribes medicine for you, follow the instructions carefully. Different medicines work better for different people. It may take a few tries to find a medicine and dose that works best for you. If a medicine doesn’t seem to be helping, don’t stop or change the way you take it. This can lead to side effects. Talk about it with your doctor first. 

Keep a positive mindset. If you have bipolar, you’re not alone. Many people go through bipolar moods and learn to manage them. So can you. 

Learn and practice skills to manage moods. The skills to manage moods are good for everyone — even people who don’t have bipolar. Like all skills, it takes time to learn them. It also takes practice to make them part of your daily life. The more you practice, the more they become go-to habits.    

Make managing your moods a way of life. Most people who have bipolar will have it all their lives. They may always need to do things to manage their symptoms. Getting the right treatment matters. Find mental health providers to support you and help you learn all you can. Join a group to share ideas and get help from others who live with bipolar. 

Medically reviewed by: D'Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date reviewed: August 2022