At Your Appointment

Bipolar Disorder Appointment Guide

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Ask the right questions at your next doctor’s appointment. Answer two questions below to personalize your appointment guide.
  • Please describe the symptoms and issues you’re having that led you to schedule this online appointment. Start at the beginning of this current episode and tell me how and when things have changed and progressed.
  • How often have you felt a mood change since our last visit?
  • Have friends or family expressed concern about your symptoms or behavior?
  • What symptoms have you noticed? For example, changes in energy levels or sleeping habits, trouble thinking clearly, overwhelming emotions, seeing or hearing things others did not?
  • Have you had thoughts of harming yourself or others?
  • Are you ever tempted to stop your medicine? What triggers this?
  • What symptoms have you noticed? For example, changes in energy levels or sleeping habits, trouble thinking clearly, overwhelming emotions, seeing or hearing things others did not?
  • When did you or those around you first notice concerning mood symptoms?
  • How often do your moods change and how long do they last?
  • How often do you engage in impulsive or risky behaviors that are not normal for you?
  • Are your symptoms or behaviors interfering with your relationships or responsibilities, such as work?
  • Do you have a family history of depression or other mental disorders?
  • Do you drink alcohol or use recreational drugs?
  • Are you taking your medicine as directed? How often, if ever, do you miss a dose?
  • What is your main concern about your symptoms and managing bipolar?
  • What new symptoms are you experiencing?
  • How do you diagnose bipolar disorder? What is the criteria?
  • What other possible causes could be responsible for my symptoms and behaviors?
  • What treatments do you recommend to treat bipolar disorder?
  • What are the possible side effects of bipolar medications?
  • Do I need to see a psychiatrist or another mental health provider?
  • What are the best treatment options for me? Are there other medications if these treatments don't work well enough?
  • What lifestyle changes do I need to make to keep myself healthy and prevent a relapse?
  • Are there other conditions I am at risk of developing? If so, what can I do to protect my health?
  • What should I do if my symptoms get worse? How do I reach you in an emergency?
  • Can I expect to recover from bipolar; that is, live a fulfilling life without bipolar being a major obstacle?
  • What support groups and programs are available to help people like me?
  • What should I do if I forget to take my medicine?
  • Are my new or different symptoms related to bipolar disorder or something else?
  • Why do you think a bipolar diagnosis is likely in my case?
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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2018 Sep 10
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
  1. Bipolar Disorder. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bipolar-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355955
  2. Griswold KS, Pessar LF. Management of bipolar disorder. Am Fam Physician. 2000 Sep 15;62(6):1343-1353.