Misdiagnosis: Bipolar Disorder are sometimes incorrectly diagnosed.

Misdiagnosis a common concern among persons with psychiatric disorders. Imagine you’re being treated for a mental health condition you don’t have, which means you are missing out on important treatment that is meant for your disorder, the downside to this is that it can actually make your symptoms worse.

Disorders bipolar disorder is mistaken for

Bipolar disorder is sometimes misdiagnosed as major depressive disorder (MDD) or attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). What this means is that your doctor made an incorrect diagnosis with one of these two disorders so instead of giving a diagnosis of bipolar disorder he/she gives you a diagnosis of ADHD or MDD.

Stats on the misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder

The stats in the image above is troubling

A 2006 study published in Psychiatry reported that “69 percent of patients with bipolar disorder are misdiagnosed initially and more than one-third remained misdiagnosed for 10 years or more.” The same study cited another study which found the average amount of time it took for people with bipolar disorder to get a correct diagnosis ranged from five to seven years.

Persons with bipolar disorder often seek treatment when they are in a depressive state which often leads to the disorder being misdiagnosed as depression (major depressive disorder MDD); conversely, people with bipolar disorder who are currently dealing with a manic episode may have their symptoms, such as restlessness and insomnia, misdiagnosed as ADHD.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is also misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder as well. What this mean is that your mental health care provider gave you a diagnosis of bipolar disorder when in fact you have BPD and the same goes for someone with PTSD. An incorrect diagnosis should not stop you from finding the help that you need, if you believe you or a loved one has been misdiagnosed by a mental health professional, seek a second opinion.

Incorrect medication due to incorrect diagnosis

This is very troubling because the incorrect diagnosis can lead to incorrect treatment which can make the symptoms worst. Take for example, prescribed antidepressants which are used to treat MDD can worsen the symptoms in persons with bipolar disorder making them feel worst.

If for any reason you think you are not receiving proper treatment, or you feel you have been given an incorrect diagnosis or you will work better with another mental health professional. It’s time to start searching for another mental health professional. Don’t let this discourage you, do not give up on getting an accurate diagnosis it will definitely be worth it.

Any questions queries and concerns regarding mental illness please feel free to leave me a comment or send me an email. mhcoachingonline@gmail.com

Published by Amy

Psychology Graduate and Mental Health Coach, I offer support services for adults living with mental health issues. Understanding your struggles is the first step towards healing.

10 thoughts on “Misdiagnosis: Bipolar Disorder are sometimes incorrectly diagnosed.

  1. From the age of 26, I was consistently misdiagnosed with anxiety-and-depression for the next 25 years. Age 51, homeless, in poverty, no family or friends, beaten up, criminalised, and with an alcohol problem, I presented at a psychiatrist and was diagnosed BP1 in 30 minutes. I cannot get back all that wasted time and broken relationships. What’s done is done. I lived in fight/flight survival mode throughout my 40s. Now, I thrive. It doesn’t matter what age you are – a proper diagnosis and treatment can help you to live again. And it’s great starting from scratch because everything’s a bonus and the only way is neither up, nor down, but balanced, fresh and free.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is very unfortunate that you had to go through this. Misdiagnosis is a serious problem when it comes to recovery, the wrong mental health professional as well can definitely create obstacles, by not providing the right treatment for their client.
      I am happy to see that you recovered, success stories like yours is an inspiration to many others with similar issues with misdiagnosis and recovery.
      Thank you so much for sharing your success story, it’s important for others to see that there is hope after a diagnosis of mental illness. You are truly a strong women indeed.
      It think a psychiatrist is always best when dealing with certain mental health issues, especially with regards to medication, some psychiatrists do provide different forms of therapy as well which is a good thing.

      Thanks again Mrs MacNonymous for you comment and for sharing your story



      1. Cheers, Amy. I don’t consider myself recovered, but recovering. I think it takes at least 2 years to recover from any chronic long term illness. I couldn’t cope with the workplace just now and am gradually reducing my meds as I will become obese if I keep taking them. I’ve nothing with which to replace them until I see psych next month. So the dance with one med then another continues…


      2. I’m not sure what you mean by “recovered”. It means different things to different people. There’s no cure for bipolar, so we live our lives as either bipolar disorder, or bipolar in-order. When well, bipolar in-order, we’re considered to be in remission.


      3. As far as I know there is no cure for mental illness itself. The recovery I’m referring to is personal recovery which is about working towards something that is important to you and having hope for the future.


      4. You can think of recovery is an ongoing process. It is normal to have difficulties or setbacks along the way. You could describe yourself as ‘recovered’ at any stage in your recovery if you feel things are better than they were before.


  2. Sadly, some people commit suicide as a result of these misdiagnoses. And I am so grateful to the universe, life and everything, that it wasn’t me. This is a very serious problem and I don’t believe that BP only presents in 1% of the population. It may be closer to 5-10%?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your comment Mrs MacNonymous. I always look forward to hearing from my followers and readers. Your strength can inspire others Mrs MacNonymous.
      I agree it is truly unfortunate, I hope to raise awareness with my blog so people will know exactly how to seek the right help on their journey to recovery.
      I believe it’s important for a person to do their own research and if in any event they are in doubt of the diagnosis that was given to them it’s important to seek a second opinion. Also, if someone is uncomfortable with their present therapist or psychiatrist its always in the best interest of the patient to seek help elsewhere. Never give up on seeking the best help to make a full recovery.
      I was discussing with a colleague recently, that a lot of the symptoms that are experienced by many patients go unreported. So you may be correct with regards to those statistics.


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