Mental wellness is just as important as physical wellness. Unfortunately, many people living with a mental illness get misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed where their symptoms are overlooked by a doctor. By becoming aware of which mental illnesses go unnoticed, you can recognize the importance of getting your symptoms checked and advocate for yourself better as a patient.

Individuals struggling with bipolar disorder, specifically, are commonly misdiagnosed early on in treatment. This often leads to ineffective treatment and worsening of symptoms, causing further problems within the person’s life. Bipolar disorder is often misdiagnosed as other mental health problems due to various factors, and understanding the impact of these misdiagnoses is essential for patients and professionals alike.

If you or a loved one has a misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed mental illness contact Alta Loma today at (866) 457-3843.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is characterized by two distinct states: depression and mania (or hypomania in Bipolar Type II). Because of the high energy and feelings of imperviousness often associated with mania, many individuals with bipolar disorder only seek treatment during the depressive phase of their illness.

As such, many patients are misdiagnosed as having unipolar depression instead. This is especially the case in young adults and adolescents who have yet to experience a manic episode and present with only depressive symptoms.

Bipolar Disorder and Matching Symptoms

Bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder characterized by unusual changes in mood, energy, activity levels, concentration, and a person’s ability to carry out daily tasks. There are various types of the disorder that cause different symptoms to appear. The most common symptoms of the three types are manic, hypomanic, and depressive episodes.

Because depressive episodes are a significant part of the disorder, individuals are often misdiagnosed with major depressive disorder. This is because the symptoms are often similar, and manic episodes may be overlooked in favor of more “pressing” mental health conditions such as depression.

Is It Major Depressive Disorder?

One of the most common disorders that bipolar is misdiagnosed for is major depressive disorder. This is because, often, the first episode of mood disturbance for individuals with bipolar disorder is depression rather than mania. Because of this, patients often report feeling depressed without any symptoms of mania or hypomania, resulting in a diagnosis of major depressive disorder. This misdiagnosis can be harmful when manic symptoms come, as patients are not educated on them or given medication to control them. However, these are not the only consequences of misdiagnosis.

Consequences of Misdiagnosis with Bipolar Disorder

Misdiagnosing any individual with the wrong mental health condition can be catastrophic for their healing. However, for people with bipolar disorder, the specific consequences are often unknown until it’s too late.

One of the most common consequences involving the misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder for major depressive disorder is increased manic episodes and rapid cycling due to treatment via antidepressants. Episodes may also increase both in frequency and duration.

A more severe outcome of misdiagnosis and ineffective treatment is an increased risk of suicide. Therefore, it is imperative for doctors and patients to do proper research to understand current symptoms and the possibility of bipolar disorder.


Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses. According to the World Health Organization, up to 85% of people in middle and lower-class families do not receive treatment. In the U.S., only half of the people with depression get treatment.

One reason for this is that depression can present differently in different patients. It can be mild, severe, or a mix of both. The symptoms of depression are not limited to sadness. Some people may experience anger, confusion, frustration, or even psychosomatic symptoms like headaches or backaches. In elderly populations, depression can mimic symptoms of dementia.

Borderline Personality Disorder

The symptoms for borderline personality disorder tend to look similar to depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. There is also a negative stigma towards this mental illness, as many who suffer from it do not want others to know that they have the condition.

If you have a mental health disorder, it is essential to speak to a professional about your treatment options. If you think you have been misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed, do not be afraid to get a second or even third opinion. A proper diagnosis for your mental illness means proper treatment, which will help you in the long run.

Underdiagnosis occurs when a person’s mental health symptoms go unnoticed. Mental illnesses can also be misdiagnosed when they appear to be similar to other mental health disorders. It is important that you speak to a professional if you are experiencing abnormal occurrences happening with your mind and body. At Alta Loma, we understand the importance of receiving a proper diagnosis for your mental illness. Located in Georgetown, Texas, we can provide you with individualized therapy, therapeutic recreational activities, life and coping skills education, and much more. Call us today at (866) 457-3843 to learn more about our services.