This 2013 article does not answer with finality, but it does discuss some other conditions that can be mistaken for bipolar or that can lead to incorrect diagnoses.
Bipolar disorder (BD) is considered one of the most disabling mental conditions, with high rates of morbidity, disability, and premature death from suicide. Although BD is often misdiagnosed as major depressive disorder, some attention has recently been drawn to the possibility that BD could be overdiagnosed in some settings. The present paper focuses on a critical analysis of the overdiagnosis issue among bipolar patients. It includes a review of the available literature findings, followed by some recommendations aiming at optimizing the diagnosis of BD and increasing its reliability.
Major section headings of the report:
- Rates of Overdiagnosis of BD: A Review of the Evidence
- Personality Disorders as a Possible Confounder in the Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder
- Substance Use Disorders and the Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder
- Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and BD in Children
- Limitations of the DSM-IV Criteria for Bipolar Disorder
- The “Bipolar Spectrum” Concept
- Optimizing the Diagnosis of BD
Given the current status of BD as a construct, diagnostic errors and the mistaken identification of patients as suffering from that condition are likely to occur. Nevertheless, improvements in the psychopathological characterization of BD, as well as clinician education on the correct interpretation of the different factors involved in the detection of BD, may increase the reliability of that diagnosis. Similarly, the identification of biological markers for mood disorders represents a promising area of research and will likely bring about improvements in the precision of the BD diagnosis in the near future.