Parents concerned about the behavior of a child with bipolar disorder, especially suicidal talk and gestures, should have the child immediately evaluated by a board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist familiar with the symptoms and treatment of pediatric bipolar disorders.
There is no a blood test, genetic test or brain scan that can establish a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.
Parents who suspect that their child has bipolar disorder (or any psychiatric illness) should take daily notes of their child's mood, behavior, sleep patterns, unusual events, and statements by the child of concern to the parents. Share these notes with the doctor making the evaluation and with the doctor who eventually treats your child. Some parents fax or email a copy of their notes to the doctor before each appointment.
Because children with bipolar disorder can be charming and charismatic during an appointment, they initially may appear to a professional to be functioning well. Therefore, a good evaluation takes at least two appointments and includes a detailed family history.