Bipolar affects everyone differently and can be difficult to diagnose, but there are some common signs that can help you identify the illness. A mood scale - see our 'Could mood swings mean bipolar?' leaflet - will help you and your doctor understand your mood swings.

Take a completed mood scale with you to your next doctor's appointment and tell them how you have been feeling over a period of time

(you can take someone with you for support if it makes you feel more comfortable talking about it).

Sometimes your GP may refer you to a specialist – usually a psychiatrist. Diagnosis should always be undertaken by an appropriately trained medical professional, who will undertake an assessment to understand a range of factors: eg. behaviour, sleep patterns, life events. It is not advisable to self-diagnose.

Check out our blog Pre-diagnosis or newly diagnosed for some personal experiences of getting a bipolar diagnosis

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Together, we can support the person behind the diagnosis of bipolar.