Is there a reliable bipolar test? What are genuine bipolar symptoms?
How do bipolar disorder tests work? Why is there so much controversy about bipolar symptoms and accurate bipolar diagnosis?
I get you may be in a hurry to go full steam ahead with a bipolar self-test, but it is important to first understand what these tests can and cannot tell you, and what further follow-up steps are necessary.
The complication is that there are no specific blood tests or x-rays that can be used to diagnose bipolar disorder.
Instead, psychiatrists and other skilled clinicians test for bipolar based on the presence of certain bipolar symptoms.
These bipolar symptoms must exist over a certain period of time, and meet specific criteria.
These criteria are outlined in the authoritative psychiatric practice textbook, known as the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" (DSM) - the psychiatrists official source of diagnostic information on bipolar.
This means that is can be very difficult to accurately diagnose bipolar disorder symptoms.
Research indicates people may often go at least 10 years despite repeated medical visits before discovering they have manic-depressive illness, now more often referred to as "bipolar".
Even experienced psychiatrists sometimes lack reliable, accurate and current information about bipolar.
See our online self-test for a quick, reliable and professional self-test of bipolar symptoms.
Some people claim to be able to perform bipolar tests through blood and/or saliva tests for specific genes said to be indicators of likely bipolar. Others claim that bipolar can be diagnosed through MRI testing. However, these claims are NOT yet supported by solid scientific evidence.
Also, bipolar disorder is all about BEHAVIOR. If someone is not experiencing bipolar mood swings and the depressive and manic episodes that characterize the disorder - the classic bipolar symptoms - what significance is there to having a particular gene?
Because heredity plays such a strong part in bipolar, family history is very useful in making a diagnosis. In fact, understanding the role of heredity in bipolar is important in understanding why blood and saliva genetic testing is so difficult. There are approximately 10 genes associated with bipolar, but no particular gene or combination of genes is predictive of the illness.
Consider this important information on bipolar:
In identical twin studies, only 57% of the time do both twins develop the disorder. If genetic testing was the key, 100% of the time both twins would exhibit the same bipolar symptoms. Instead, genes seem to combine with brain chemistry and life experience, especially stress, to produce bipolar symptoms in ways we do not fully understand yet. This is why testing has to focus on symptoms and behavior.
Also, contrary to what many people believe, testing for bipolar cannot at this time be done by performing any type of brain scan.
As you may know there are different types of bipolar disorder. Some tests focus on testing across the "bipolar spectrum". Click to discover tests for bipolar ii and soft bipolar.
Please read this whole page carefully.
Yes, the bipolar disorder tests offered here are the same tests that the professional use.
Such a bipolar test is a critical first step in answering that all consuming question - "Am I Bipolar?"
However, you MUST understand this is only a first step.
We are not pretending that an accurate, reliable and expert diagnosis can be performed using a checklist over the Internet!
The "gold standard" as far as tests for bipolar disorder are concerned is NOT just a questionnaire, but an EXTENDED CONVERSATION with a skilled and experienced clinician who specializes in manic depressive illness or mood disorders.
Look for these signs you are being properly screened:
1. You are asked in detail about family history, including relatives who were diagnosed with bipolar, and those who did not get formally diagnosed but who demonstrated mood swings.
2. You are encouraged to bring someone who has known you very well and for a long time in order to provide some objectivity and perspective.
3. A systematic and detailed life history and timeline of all potential bipolar disorder signs and symptoms is taken, for example through using the life chart method.
4. A recognized set of criteria are used to assess you, for example the diagnostic criteria from Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV).
Many medical experts and members of the community in general are frustrated by the subjective and unreliable techniques that we currently depend on for diagnosing bipolar.
An accurate and reliable bipolar disorder test would be a huge benefit to us all.
Not just folks concerned for themselves and their loved ones, but:
1. the judicial system and law enforcement
2. the health insurance industry
3. drug companies who are trying to perform accurate drug trials, and
4. psychiatrists desperately trying to figure out the exact nature of their clients' problems and how they can most effectively be treated
are ALL desperately concerned about misdiagnosis and long for an accurate and definitive bipolar test.
Know enough about about bipolar disorder to take a pop quiz? Try our Bipolar Disorder Pop Quiz.
You are here: Bipolar Basics ---> Bipolar Test
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