Who Is This Quiz For
This brief, time-saving questionnaire is designed for anyone who thinks they may benefit from an evaluation for bipolar disorder.
The items below will help you determine whether you may need additional help and professional support for the symptoms youve been experiencing.
A mental health professional can also help figure out if your issues might be a symptom of bipolar or another mental health condition and recommend treatment if needed.
How Doctors Diagnose Bipolar Disorder
Figuring out whether someone has bipolar disorder can be a challenge for doctors. Doctors cant diagnose mental diseases with a blood test. Diagnosis is also hard because bipolar disorder symptoms mimic those of other illnesses.
For example, the “lows” of bipolar disorder can be much like . During a period of highs, bipolar disorder can look like hyperactivity, rage or .
Doctors need to carefully check your symptoms to know for sure whether you have bipolar disorder. This starts with your primary care doctor. Your doctor will check whether other health problems might be causing your symptoms.
Tests and brain scans cannot identify bipolar disorder. However, they can help eliminate other possible causes, like a or a . If your doctor rules out other illnesses, you should see a or other mental health professional. This specialist will check for symptoms of both mania and .
Whats The Screening Test For Bipolar Disorder Like
Talking with a doctor or mental health professional is the first step in identifying bipolar disorder. Specific criteria for diagnosis are laid out in the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders .
In a screening for bipolar disorder, youll be asked several questions about your symptoms and how long they have occurred.
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Diagnosis And Treatment Of Bipolar Disorder
While the self-test above can be an informative tool, a diagnosis needs to be made by a professional mental health expert.
Therapy and medication can be effective treatment options for Bipolar Disorder.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help people better control both their manic and depressive behaviors. Psychoeducation can help people understand themselves and their condition better. Interpersonal and Social Rhythm helps people focus on developing regular daily habits to add stability to ones life.
Medications such as antidepressants can help prevent depressive episodes. Antipsychotics may help people with severe manic episodes avoid breaks from reality. Mood stabilizers can help a person better keep a consistent mood. Anti-anxiety medications can be a short-term treatment to help treat anxiety and sleep disturbances.
Unfortunately, finding the right medication regime is difficult in people with bipolar disorder. Oftentimes different medications, or combination of medications, needed to be tested and managed by a highly skilled doctor.
If you happen to be reading this and looking for help in the Southern California area, Solara Mental Health can be an option for you. Our San Diego Mental Health Center treats disorders such as bipolar disorders. Our skilled psychiatrists and therapists may be able to provide the help youve been looking for.
Contact us today if you are looking for a proper diagnosis and treatment for your disorder.
Brain Structure And Function
Researchers are learning that the brain structure and function of people with bipolar disorder may be different from the brain structure and function of people who do not have bipolar disorder or other psychiatric disorders. Learning about the nature of these brain changes helps doctors better understand bipolar disorder and may in the future help predict which types of treatment will work best for a person with bipolar disorder. At this time, diagnosis is based on symptoms rather than brain imaging or other diagnostic tests.
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What To Do Now
If you have shown symptoms of bipolar disorder and will be diagnosed with it then its best that you should be fully open with your psychiatrist so that they can provide the best treatment for it.
Its also important that you should know more about what youre undergoing through so that you can have an informed decision on what to do with your mental health.
Bipolar Disorder is a serious medical condition that will most likely affect your whole life so its best to be diagnosed with it if you have it so your treatment can be done as early as possible so you can live a more functioning life.
Mental And Psychiatric Exam
Your doctor will also try to recommend you to a psychiatrist to check if you have any emotional problems and problematic behavioral patterns that may cause you to have bipolar disorder.
You will also be asked to have to answer a psychological questionnaire so they can assess and gather any specific information from you in order to evaluate the problems that you may have mentally.
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What Will My Doctor Ask Me
To make a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, your doctor will ask you about:
- How many symptoms you experience
- Which types of mood episodes you experience
- How long your mood episodes last for
- How many mood episodes you’ve had
- How often your mood episodes occur
- How your symptoms impact your life
- Your family history
They may also:
- Ask you to keep a diary of your moods to help you both identify patterns and triggers.
- Check up on your physical health. For example, some conditions like thyroid problems can cause mania-like symptoms.
Only a mental health professional like a psychiatrist can give you a bipolar disorder diagnosis not your GP.
However, if you’re experiencing bipolar moods and symptoms, discussing it with your GP can be a good first step. They can refer you to a psychiatrist, who will be able to assess you.
For more information see our pages on seeking help for a mental health problem.
Once properly diagnosed, I knew the cause. I understood that I was someone with an illness. I was not a failure, not a bad person.
Things You Dont Know About Bipolar Disorder
The average persons knowledge of bipolar disorder often comes from movies, where patients are typically depicted in one of three ways:
1) Uber-creative and energeticthink Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook.
2) Brilliant but paranoidMatt Damons character in The Informant.
3) Charmingly ineptas played by Mark Ruffalo in Infinitely Polar Bear.
Despite the protagonists mental health challenges, finding true love and a caring therapist usually leads to a cure at least in Hollywood.
In real life, bipolar disorder is a condition that has to be managed. About 2% of the populationor approximately 8.5 million Americanslive with bipolar disorder, the mental health condition once known as manic depression.
Its one of the most misunderstood and complex mental illnesses, and its among the 10 most debilitating noncommunicable diseases, according to the World Health Organization.
People living with bipolar disorder often have chaotic lives. They experience episodes of extreme elation and severe depression, cycling through moods and emotions that make it difficult to complete simple tasks or maintain lasting relationships.
Today, emerging research on the root causes of bipolar disorder have proven its an affliction, not a choice. Risk for bipolar may be carried by genes across generations, making some people susceptible and leaving others unaffected. Studies have found that genetic influence explains 60% to 85% of risk for the disorder.
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How Is Bipolar Disorder Diagnosed
Bipolar disorder is diagnosed through a clinical interview with a licensed mental health professional, explains Simon A. Rego, PsyD, Chief Psychologist at Montefiore Medical Center and Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.
Sometimes, the mental health professional will also ask the person to complete some assessment measures to aid in the diagnosis, Rego says. They may also ask to speak with a family member or partner, or other significant person in the persons life, in order to get additional information about the impact the disorder has had on the person and their relationships.
Testing For Other Disorders
Doctors need to take time with the testing process, as other mental health conditions may cause similar symptoms. Monitoring and testing helps ensure that the person receives the correct treatment for their condition.
Doctors will often perform a physical examination when the person first visits them. This may not help with a bipolar diagnosis, but it may help rule out physical issues that can cause similar symptoms.
For instance, issues with the thyroid gland may cause similar symptoms to those of manic or depressive episodes.
Some symptoms that may seem similar to symptoms of bipolar disorder may also appear in a few different mental health conditions.
For instance, symptoms such as impulsive behavior and mood swings may appear in conditions such as:
- attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
- notes that 8090 percent of people with bipolar describe family members who have had mood disorders.
Genes: Some genes may play a role in bipolar disorder.
Properly diagnosing bipolar disorder is crucial to get the person medical treatment and help them live a balanced life.
Anyone who feels that they may have bipolar disorder should talk to a doctor or mental health professional first and foremost.
A doctor may perform a physical exam to help them rule out other conditions or deficiencies. After checking for other conditions, doctors will typically refer the person to a mental health specialist for an evaluation.
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You Have Bouts Of Over
This is mania. Itâs a high that goes way beyond âhappyâ or âjoyful.â Some people have it often, others hardly ever.
Hypomania is a milder form of this feeling. It doesnât turn into psychosis like mania can, but itâs part of a bipolar diagnosis. You might feel great and get a lot done, but those around you might see changes in your mood and activity levels.
To get a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, you must have had at least one manic or hypomanic experience.
Signs of manic behavior include:
- Your mood isnât comfortable. It might feel good at first, especially after depression. But it quickly becomes erratic and out of control.
- Your judgment swerves way off. You take extreme risks. You make bad decisions with no thought for what might happen. For instance, you might spend money recklessly or have risky sex.
- You get bad-tempered and angry.
- You feel strung-out or edgy.
- You find it hard to sleep.
- You feel like your mind is a freeway. You might talk super-fast and hop subjects, or think you can do too many things at once.
Some episodes can mix mania and depression. For example, you might feel hyper-energetic and full of despair at the same time.
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Can Brain Scans Or Imaging Tests Help With The Bipolar Diagnosis
While doctors donât rely on brain scans or imaging tests for making a bipolar diagnosis, some high-tech neuroimaging tests may help doctors make specific neurologic diagnoses that can account for psychiatric symptoms. An MRI or CT scan is therefore sometimes ordered in patients who have had a sudden change in thinking, mood, or behavior to assure that a neurological disease is not the underlying cause.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, studies are underway to examine whether electroencephalograms and magnetic resonance imaging studies of the brain can reveal differences between bipolar disorder and related behavioral syndromes. But bipolar disorder remains a clinical diagnosis, and no imaging study or other lab test has yet been established to confirm its diagnosis or guide its treatment.
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Can People Tell They Are Bipolar
People can often tell that something is wrong , but may not always be able to accurately label it as bipolar. For example, it is frequently easy for people to know when they are depressed, but sometimes symptoms of mania go unnoticed, or feel good, so they are not as easily seen as an issue, says Simon A. Rego, PsyD, Chief Psychologist at Montefiore Medical Center and Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.
Were Still Learning How To Treat Bipolar Disorder
There is no cure for bipolar disorder. Instead, it must be managed for life.
According to the National Advisory Mental Health Council, the treatment success rate is a remarkable 80%.
Treating bipolar disorder is complex, because the right treatment for one person may not help someone else. Additionally, the same treatments that alleviate depression can cause mania or mood swings. Whats more, treatments that reduce mania might cause rebound depressive episodes. While antidepressants are commonly used to treat the depressive phase of the disorder, they are not always effective.
People living with bipolar disorder are also at risk for other easier-to-spot conditions that distract from their root problems. For example, poor sleep often plays a key role in bipolar disorder, and patients may be sent home with a sleep aid rather than a mood stabilizer.
The most common treatment protocols for bipolar disorder include the following:
Studies show that therapy and stress reduction can also help those with bipolar disorder. Experts say that combining talk therapy with mood-stabilizing drugs seems to be one of the most promising lines of treatment for bipolar disorder.
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The Bipolar Test: Second Opinions
Mental health experts consulted about the new bipolar disorder tests say the science is not yet there.
“Based on everything we know, this science is not ready for prime time,” says Tom Insel, MD, director of the National Institute of Mental Health. He doesn’t rule out the possibility that within a few years and with more discoveries about the genetic roots of mental illness, some ”practical information of value” might be gotten from these types of tests.
Of the genetic links, Insel says: “What has been found is an association with a common variant that increases your risk of the illness. It confers a very slight increase in risk. But that is a long way from being able to use that single genetic association to make any practical clinical decision.”
“They simply haven’t proven an association,” says Douglas F. Levinson, MD, the Walter E. Nichols, MD, Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine. “These tests are based on data which are not considered statistically significant in the field of genetics as a whole,” he says, adding that a person’s best resource for diagnosing bipolar disorder is still a mental health professional.
“We don’t actually know enough about the brain to consider genetic testing to be definitive at this point for any mental illness,” he says.
In a general statement addressing all at-home genetic tests, the Federal Trade Commission notes that “a healthy dose of skepticism may be the best prescription.”
What Risks And Complications Can Bipolar Disorder Cause
There can be complications and risks for people who live with bipolar disorder. But these risks can be lessened with the right support and treatment.
What about suicide and self-harm?
You might have an illness where you experience psychosis, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Your risk of suicide is estimated to be between 5% and 6% higher than the general population.
You are more likely to try to take your own life if you have a history of attempted suicide and depression. It is important that you get the right treatment for your symptoms of depression and have an up to date crisis plan.
There is also research that suggests you are 30% – 40% more likely to self-harm if you live with bipolar disorder.
What about financial risk?
If you have mania or hypomania you may struggle to manage your finances. You may spend lots of money without thinking about the effect that it may have on your life.
You could make a Lasting Power of Attorney. This is a legal process. This means that you pick someone that you trust to manage your finances if you lack mental capacity to manage them by yourself.
You can work with your carer and mental health team. You can form an action plan. This can say what they can do if you have a period of mania or hypomania and you start to make poor financial decisions.
What about physical health risk?
What about alcohol and drugs risk?
If you want advice or help with alcohol or drug use contact your GP.
What about driving risk?
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Is This Quiz Accurate
This online screening is not a definitive tool. It will not conclusively guarantee that you may be diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
However, it can be useful if youre experiencing symptoms and want to determine if additional help or support from a mental health professional is the right option for you.
Only a trained medical professional, such as a doctor or mental health professional, can help you determine the next best steps for you.
How Accurate Is It
This quiz is NOT a diagnostic tool. Mental health disorders can only be diagnosed by a licensed mental health professional or doctor.
Psycom believes assessments can be a valuable first step toward getting treatment. All too often people stop short of seeking help out of fear their concerns arent legitimate or severe enough to warrant professional intervention.
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Bipolar Disorder Self Test
When people hear the word, mental illness, they often think of depression or schizophrenia. Those conditions should be on everyones mind. But people should be aware of bipolar disorder as well.
2.6 percent of Americans have bipolar disorder. That totals 5.7 million people. It cuts across all demographic groups, affecting men and women alike in equal proportions.
Many people are aware of a few symptoms of it. They may fill out a bipolar self-test that focuses on mood swings and feelings of anxiety.
Try this self test to see if you might have bipolar disorder:
This test should be used as an educational tool. It is not a replacement for a proper diagnosis of any mental health disorder. If you are experiencing mental health issues, please contact a professional as soon as you can. If you are having thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.