[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The objective of this article is to review the literature on one of the most complex topics in contemporary psychiatry-the diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is a disabling psychiatric illness that is often misdiagnosed, especially on initial presentation. Misdiagnosis results in ineffective treatment, which further worsens the outcome. Major contributors toward misdiagnosis include lapses in history-taking, presence of psychiatric and medical comorbidities, and limitations in diagnostic criteria. Careful screening for symptoms of hypomania/mania and clinical features suggestive of bipolarity as well as use of collateral history and screening instruments, such as mood questionnaires, might help in limiting the rate of misdiagnosis.