Bipolar Disorder: Correct Diagnosis is Crucial

12:55 08 January in Diagnosis, Health, Medicine

Misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder is alarmingly common. Research shows that bipolar disorder may be the most misdiagnosed mental health condition. According to data published by the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association, 69 percent of those with bipolar disorder are misdiagnosed initially, and more than one-third continue to be misdiagnosed for at least ten years.

The diagnosis of bipolar disorder is difficult. Its high comorbidity with other psychiatric and medical diagnoses and the fact that most patients seek treatment only for depressive symptoms complicates diagnosis and a subsequent treatment plan. Ineffective treatment, including inaccurate and unnecessary medication, is often given as a result. It has been noted that the biggest challenge in avoiding misdiagnosis is to differentiate bipolar depression from unipolar depression. A misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder results in serious health risks, along with treatment complications and higher treatment costs.

With one in four people around the world affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in life, it is imperative that an accurate diagnosis is given and a proper treatment plan implemented in order to ensure best outcomes for any mental health condition. In the case that a diagnosis of bipolar disorder is given, a medical second opinion from a top-ranked academic hospital will help to confirm or modify the diagnosis and provide treatment recommendations based on the latest medical research. WorldCare’s medical second opinions, which have been trusted globally for over 25 years, utilize a multi-disciplinary, institution-based approach, with teams of doctors at world-class medical centers reviewing all aspects of a member’s case.

WorldCare Mental Health, a medical second opinion service available worldwide, gives members and their designated physician access to the top minds in psychiatry today, including over 600 psychiatrists at Massachusetts General Hospital, a leader in healthcare discovery. WorldCare works with the member and their designated physician(s) to gather medical records and send them for an expert medical review at the leading U.S. hospitals of The WorldCare Consortium®. A multi-disciplinary team of medical specialists review the member’s current diagnosis and treatment plan, and provide an independent medical second opinion to the member and their treating physician, giving peace of mind that a diagnosis and treatment plan are correct and effective.

For more information on WorldCare Mental Health, please contact us by emailing



Sources: Hirschfeld R, Vornik LA. Recognition and diagnosis of bipolar disorder. J Clin Psychiatry. 2004;65(suppl 15):5–9.

Bowden CL. A different depression: Clinical distinctions between bipolar and unipolar depression. J Affect Disord. 2005;84:117–25.

The National Depressive and Manic-depressive Association (DMDA) survey of bipolar members. Lish JD, Dime-Meenan S, Whybrow PC, Price RA, Hirschfeld RM. J Affect Disord. 1994 Aug; 31(4):281-94.

Misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder. Perlis RH. Am J Manag Care. 2005 Oct; 11(9 Suppl):S271-4.

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