Bipolar Disorder Symptoms, Causes, Types, and Diagnosis
Recognizing and getting help
Do you think you may be bipolar? While only a mental health professional can accurately diagnose bipolar disorder, this quiz can help you to identify symptoms.
The symptoms of bipolar disorder are far more intense than ordinary mood swings and can create disruptions in your daily life and relationships. Your mood can swing from highs of mania to the lows of depression, and trigger pronounced changes in your energy levels and how you think, feel, and behave.
A manic episode can leave you talking a mile a minute, sleeping very little, behaving recklessly, picking fights, or even experiencing delusions. At the other extreme, bipolar depression can cause you to move and speak very slowly, sleep more than usual, feel restless, guilty, and irritable, or even lose touch with reality.
However, bipolar symptoms can also vary widely from one person to another, often depending on the type of bipolar disorder. While some people are more prone to either manic or depressive episodes, for example, others experience both equally often. Similarly, some people can experience far more severe and more frequent mood swings than others.
The following bipolar disorder test is based on the Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ) designed to identify mood symptoms often found in bipolar disorder. It can be a useful screening tool for adults and adolescents aged 12 and above. While no test can replace a medical diagnosis, taking this short quiz may help you decide if you should speak to a mental health professional for an accurate diagnosis.
Answer the following 15 questions, choosing the most appropriate response. It's not just your total score that's important, but also the specific questions you answer with a “Yes”.
Has there ever been a period of time when you were not your usual self and:
If you scored 7 points or more for questions 1 to 13 AND 1 point (“Yes”) for question 14 AND 2 or 3 points (moderate or serious problem) for question 15: You likely have bipolar disorder.
If you answered “Yes” to questions 3, 4, 8, 9: You may not recognize any significant negative affects of feeling energetic and extraverted, which itself can be an indicator of bipolar disorder.
If you answered “Yes” to questions 1, 2, 6, 7, 12, 13: It can also indicate bipolar disorder or another mental health issue such as a personality disorder, PTSD, or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
This questionnaire is not intended to replace professional diagnosis.
Source: The Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ)
When considering your answers, it’s important to remember that factors other than bipolar disorder can also cause changes in mood and energy levels. Certain medical conditions or the use of alcohol, drugs, or prescription medications can also trigger similar experiences.
Making an accurate diagnosis of bipolar disorder can be difficult even for medical professionals. In many cases, it can take numerous consultations to correctly identify bipolar disorder and decide on the best treatment plan. You can't diagnose the disorder on your own and the Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ) is just one type of screening tool.
The symptoms of bipolar disorder can often be difficult to distinguish from other mental health conditions, such as major depression, ADHD, and borderline personality disorder. Therefore, it's vital that you see a mental health professional to make an accurate diagnosis. Try to find a psychiatrist with experience treating bipolar disorder. Read: Bipolar Disorder Symptoms, Causes, Types, and Diagnosis.
Call the NAMI HelpLine at 1-800-950-6264 or find DBSA Chapters/Support Groups in your area. (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance)
Call the peer support line at 0333 323 3880 and leave a message for a return call or Find a Support Group near you. (Bipolar UK)
Call the Sane Helpline at 1800 187 263 or find a local Support Group. (Bipolar Australia)
Visit Finding Help for links to provincial helplines and support groups. (Mood Disorders Society of Canada)
Call the Vandrevala Foundation Helpline (India) at 1860 2662 345 or 1800 2333 330.
Search HelpGuide's Directory of International Mental Health Helplines.
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