Am I Bipolar? Test and Features of Bipolar Disorder (A guide)

In this brief guide, we will look at the question “Am I Bipolar, tests for Bipolar disorder and some features of Bipolar disorder. We will also discuss what depression and hypomania are, and look at what treatment options are available for Bipolar Disorder.

“Am I Bipolar?”: Test to Diagnose Bipolar Disorder

There are no reliable online “Am I Bipolar?” tests, but there are some websites that offer quizzes and brief rating scales that may give someone an insight into what they are suffering from, however these are never a substitute for a clinical interview and this should be kept in mind.

If you feel that you are Bipolar, you need to seek professional help from a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist, as this is a serious situation that only worsens with time and you need attention soon so you can start treatment.

Tests to determine if someone is bipolar usually consist of questions about the person’s mood, behavior, and general lifestyle issues, and when done in a clinic the clinician usually asks the questions and marks off the answers in the rating scale.

Online tests will usually have questions along the same lines, but they may be somewhat vague and leading, and someone who does not have bipolar disorder can also easily get a score that suggests they do.

If someone is misunderstanding their symptoms, then them taking a test online to determine if they are bipolar can be problematic, because they may treat it as a diagnosis when it is really not.

The only real test good enough to diagnose bipolar disorder is a clinical interview with a professional who will ask you about your symptoms and why you think you are bipolar, your history and other things about your physical health, and based on that they will make an informed judgment about your condition.

Many people who don’t know enough about the signs and symptoms of Bipolar disorder may confuse normal mood swings or Premenstrual Syndrome as Bipolar as well, which also raises the question of “Am I Bipolar?” or “Am I Hormonal?”.

If you think you are bipolar, you should see a medical professional so that you can get an accurate sense of what is going on with you, as trying to reach a diagnosis on your own by taking online tests can be very detrimental to your fragile mental state, if you are in one.

Bipolar Disorder Signs and Symptoms

Bipolar disorder is characterized by alternating phases of Mania and Depression, and it used to be known as Manic Depressive Psychosis, which was discarded as a name long ago once it was realized that the mood changes on their own do not signify a psychotic state.

Bipolar disorder can be of two types, Bipolar 1 and Bipolar 2.

Bipolar 1 is the type where the phase of mania includes a severe manic episode, and the person may display signs and symptoms of full-blown mania, while the depression may be the same as that of Bipolar 2.

Bipolar 2 on the other hand includes a manic phase that is characterized by Hypomania, which is a less intense version of mania but can be just as disruptive.

In Bipolar disorder it has been seen that the manic episode typically lasts for anywhere between 2 weeks to a month or 2 months, and the depression usually lasts longer, the median period being 3 months.

It should also be noted that the periods of both mania and depression in bipolar disorder tend to be longer and varying in the elderly, and the typical periods may pertain more to young people.

Depression in Bipolar disorder also tends to be much more intense and debilitating than the depression in Major Depressive disorder or Recurrent Depressive disorder.

The reason behind this is hypothesized as being that the difference in affective states is so stark that the low mood that appears after such high mood can be like coming down from a very intense drug-induced trip, which can make the person feel incredibly broken and shattered.

An online Bipolar disorder test that is more reliable than others and may give the person a sense of what they are suffering from can be found here.

Hypomania Signs and Symptoms

Given below is the DSM 5 criteria for Hypomania:

“A distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood and abnormally and persistently increased activity or energy, lasting at least 4 consecutive days and present most of the day, nearly every day.

During the period of mood disturbance and increased energy and activity, three (or more)of the following symptoms have persisted (four if the mood is only irritable), represent a noticeable change from usual behavior, and have been present to a significant degree:

  • Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity.
  • Decreased need for sleep (e.g., feels rested after only 3 hours of sleep).
  • More talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking.
  • Flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are racing.
  • Distractibility (i.e., attention too easily drawn to unimportant or irrelevant external stimuli), as reported or observed
  • Increase in goal-directed activity (either socially, at work or school, or sexually) or psychomotor agitation.
  • Excessive involvement in activities that have a high potential for painful consequences (e.g., engaging in unrestrained buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, or foolish business investments)

The episode is associated with an unequivocal change in functioning that is uncharacteristic of the individual when not symptomatic.

The disturbance in mood and the change in functioning are observable by others.

The episode is not severe enough to cause marked impairment in social or occupational functioning or to necessitate hospitalization. If there are psychotic features, the episode is, by definition, manic.

The episode is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication or other treatment).”

Mania Signs and Symptoms

Mania occurs in Bipolar 1 Disorder, along with Major Depressive disorder, and the symptoms of such a manic condition according to the DSM 5 are given below:

“A distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood and abnormally and persistently increased goal-directed activity or energy, lasting at least 1 week and present most of the day, nearly every day (or any duration if hospitalization is necessary).

During the period of mood disturbance and increased energy or activity, three (or more) of the following symptoms (four if the mood is only irritable) are present to a significant degree and represent a noticeable change from usual behavior:

  • Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity.
  • Decreased need for sleep (e.g., feels rested after only 3 hours of sleep).
  • More talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking.
  • Flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are racing.
  • Distractibility (i.e., attention too easily drawn to unimportant or irrelevant external stimuli), as reported or observed.
  • Increase in goal-directed activity (either socially, at work or school, or sexually) or psychomotor agitation (i.e., purposeless non-goal-directed activity).
  • Excessive involvement in activities that have a high potential for painful consequences (e.g., engaging in unrestrained buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, or foolish business investments).

The mood disturbance is sufficiently severe to cause marked impairment in social orb occupational functioning or to necessitate hospitalization to prevent harm to self or others, or there are psychotic features.

The episode is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication, other treatment) or to another medical condition.”

Depression

In Bipolar 1 disorder, the depression is usually more severe and therefore more symptoms from the ones discussed below may be seen, and they are also likely to be more severe.

The risk of suicide or suicidal ideation is also more in Bipolar 1 disorder, and the person may also experience more lack of energy and lack of motivation to do things, which may make for a very stark contrast between the mania and depression and the people around are unlikely to miss it at all.

The guidelines for Depression in Bipolar disorder according to the DSM 5 are given below:

“Five (or more) of the following symptoms have been present during the same 2-weekperiod and represent a change from previous functioning; at least one of the symptoms is either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure. Note: Do not include symptoms that are clearly attributable to another medical condition.

Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated by either subjective report (e.g., feels sad, empty, or hopeless) or observation made by others (e.g., appears tearful). (Note: In children and adolescents, can be irritable mood.)

  • Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day (as indicated by either subjective account or observation).
  • Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (e.g., a change of more than5% of body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day. (Note: In children, consider failure to make expected weight gain.)
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day.
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day (observable by others; not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down).
  • Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt (which may be delusional)nearly every day (not merely self-reproach or guilt about being sick).
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day (either by subjective account or as observed by others).
  • Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.
  • The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

The episode is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance or another medical condition.

Bipolar Disorder Treatment

The treatment for bipolar disorder may include the separate treatment of mania and depression and usually medication may be needed before psychotherapy can begin so that the patient is stable and responsive enough.

The treatment options for Bipolar disorder are usually given as follows:

  • Antipsychotics
  • Antidepressants
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Electroconvulsive therapy (For suicidal behavior or mania with psychotic symptoms)
  • Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
  • Behavior therapy
  • Therapy to increase adherence to medication
  • Supportive psychotherapy

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we looked at the question “Am I Bipolar?”, tests for Bipolar disorder and some features of Bipolar disorder. We also discussed what depression and hypomania are, and looked at what treatment options are available for Bipolar Disorder.

Bipolar disorder is often misunderstood and people might assume that it refers to just mood swings, but it is so much more than that, and if you find yourself asking “Am I bipolar”” every time you have a mood swing, you should know that you have nothing to worry about when you are just having mood swings.

Bipolar disorder becomes a possibility when there are major behavioral and personality changes involved with the changes in mood, and when the person acts in a very clearly different way from time to time, it may need professional help.

If you are looking for a specific Am I Bipolar test to take online, sadly there aren’t any reliable ones, but you can still see a professional or talk to one online, and get some insight into whether you might have a problem.

If you have any further questions or comments for us related to the question “Am I Bipolar”, please feel free to reach out anytime.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Am I Bipolar Test

How do you find out if you’re bipolar?

To find out if you are bipolar you may need to see a professional as there are usually no other ways.
To assess if you have bipolar disorder, the doctor may ask you some questions or ask your loved one some questions about your behavior and why you feel that you may have bipolar disorder.
There may also be a psychiatric assessment to check if you are having mood swings of if you have bipolar disorder.

What are 5 signs of bipolar?

5 signs of bipolar disorder that may be seen in most patients of this disorder are:
Periods of anger and aggression that are not usual for the individual
Grandiosity and overconfidence.
Crying easily for no reason, frequent sadness.
Reduced need for sleep
Impulsive behavior that is out of character for the person
Moodiness.
Lack of concentration and inattention.

How do I know if I have bipolar 1 or 2?

To know if you have Bipolar 1 or 2 you may need to talk to a professional, as Bipolar 1 and 2 are differentiated on the basis of the type of mania one is experiencing.
In Bipolar 1 the mania patient experiences is full-blown and more severe, whereas Bipolar 2 is characterized by a hypomanic episode with depression, which is not so severe.

What triggers bipolar?

Bipolar can be triggered by anything as there are no set factors for bipolar disorder, but some things that can make people more susceptible to developing bipolar disorder are: Having a parent or sibling, with bipolar disorder, very high stress or drug or alcohol abuse.

Citations

https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/tests/health/bipolar-depression-test

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