Clear Signs Of Sadness
The single most prominent sign of a depressive episode is extreme feelings of sadness. Like feelings of happiness, they may appear suddenly.
This sadness can be overwhelming. A person may not find humor in things that they used to laugh at. They may withdraw from important activities and social gatherings.
Other negative feelings may accompany sadness. A person may feel empty. They may feel like they dont have anything important to say.
Despite knowing that they are in a depressive episode, they may feel like their sadness will never go away. They may notice that their feelings are making other people sad.
This can cause their feelings to get worse. They may remain unconvinced of their worth, even when shown examples of it.
Whats The Screening Test For Bipolar Disorder Like
Current screening tests for bipolar disorder dont perform well. The most common report is the Mood Disorder Questionnaire .
In a 2019 study, results indicated that people who scored positive on the MDQ were as likely to have borderline personality disorder as they were to have bipolar disorder.
You can try some online screening tests if you suspect you have bipolar disorder. These screening tests will ask you a variety of questions to determine if youre experiencing symptoms of manic or depressive episodes. However, many of these screening instruments are home grown and may not be valid measures of bipolar disorder.
Symptoms for shifts in mood include:
|Mania, or hypomania||Depression|
When getting a diagnosis for bipolar disorder, the usual method is to first rule out other medical conditions or disorders.
Your healthcare provider will:
- order tests to check your blood and urine
- ask about your moods and behaviors for a psychological evaluation
If your healthcare provider doesnt find a medical cause, they may refer you to a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist. A mental health professional may prescribe medication to treat the condition.
You may also be referred to a psychologist who can teach you techniques to help recognize and manage shifts in your mood.
Even in the case of rapid cycling or mixed episodes, a bipolar diagnosis requires someone to experience:
What Are The Side Effects Of Bipolar Disorder Medications
Side effects of bipolar disorder medications are common and vary by medication. Its important to talk with your healthcare provider about what you can expect when taking certain medications. Its also important to tell them if youre experiencing side effects.
Never stop taking your medication unless your healthcare provider tells you to do so. Abruptly stopping medication can cause severe side effects and trigger severe episodes.
The most common side effects of bipolar disorder medications include:
- Weight gain.
- Akathisia feelings of restlessness and agitation with a compelling need to move, rock or pace.
Don’t Miss: Major Depressive Disorder Recurrent Moderate F33 1
Treatment For Bipolar Disorder
Doctors use mood stabilizers to treat bipolar disorder. Antidepressants can make mania worse. They arent a first-line treatment for bipolar disorder. Your doctor may prescribe them to treat other disorders such as anxiety or PTSD. If you also have anxiety, benzodiazepines may be helpful, but you should use caution if you take them due to their risk for abuse. A variety of new antipsychotic drugs are approved and available for the treatment of bipolar disorder and can be effective. If one of these drugs doesnt work, another one might.
Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator
This online resource, provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration , can help you locate mental health treatment facilities and programs. Find a facility in your state by searching SAMHSAs online Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator. For additional resources, visit NIMH’s Help for Mental Illnesses webpage.
Recommended Reading: Group Cognitive Behavioural Therapy For Anxiety And Depression
What This Means For You
If you think you might have depression or bipolar disorder, make an appointment with your primary care doctor. They’ll be able to make a diagnosis based on your symptoms and make a referral to a more specialized mental healthcare provider, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist.
Initially, you may feel uncomfortable talking to your doctor about your mental health, but it’s an important first step. With the right support and treatment, including self-care habits, you can start to feel better and look forward to a brighter future.
Whats The Difference Between Borderline Personality Disorder And Bipolar Disorder
While borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder have similar symptoms and are often confused for each other, theyre distinct conditions.
BPD involves a longstanding pattern of abrupt, moment-to-moment swings in moods, behavior and self-image that are often triggered by conflicts in interactions with other people. Nonsuicidal self-injury is also common in BPD but not in bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder is different from BPD because it involves distinct, longer-lasting episodes of mania/hypomania and/or depression. Several things can trigger manic or depressive episodes, such as sleep changes, stress, medications and substance use.
Also Check: Depression Warning Signs For Adults
Summary Of Assessment Tools For Diagnosis
Overall, the SCID and the SADS are the most common means of diagnosing bipolar disorder in adults. With excellent psychometric characteristics for the assessment of bipolar I disorder, they fare less well in assessing bipolar II disorder. This may be due to issues related to the definition of hypomania.
How Does Bipolar Disorder Affect People
At times, people with bipolar disorder go through depression. Other times, they go through manic moods. They may have normal moods in between.
When they go through depression, people with bipolar will:
- have a sad or irritable mood that lasts for at least 2 weeks
Added to that, they may:
- feel hopeless or worthless
- use poor judgment, do things they shouldnt do
- try risky behaviors
- think of themselves in inflated ways or think they have superpowers
Going through these two types of extreme moods is hard on a person. Bipolar moods can make it harder to get along well with others. It can be a challenge to succeed at goals.
Bipolar can cloud peoples judgment and lead them to take unsafe risks. It can cause problems they didnt expect and didnt intend. Some people might be more likely to self-harm or try suicide. They may drink alcohol or use drugs.
Thats why it matters to get the right diagnosis and treatment for bipolar moods. It can help reverse or prevent problems like these.
Moods dont have to run a persons life. With treatment, people with bipolar can learn to manage their moods and symptoms. This helps them feel and do better in things that matter to them.
Recommended Reading: What Should I Do If I Think Im Depressed
Assessment Of Symptom Severity
The most common approach to measuring the severity of manic symptoms has been clinician-rated interviews. The Young Mania Rating Scale and Bech-Rafaelsen Mania Rating Scale are two of the most widely used clinician-rated scales for assessing symptom severity. These scales have been commonly used to track changes in symptoms over time as treatment progresses. We briefly review these two scales, as well as the Schedule for Affective Disorders and SchizophreniaâChange version mania subscale. There has been growing recognition, though, of the need to track both clinician and patient perspectives on the course of treatment, and so we discuss available symptom severity measures that rely on self-report. Some research has focused on measures useful for case conceptualization and treatment planning, but this literature is not covered in detail here: interested readers are referred to other reviews . Table 2 summarizes some of the well-supported measures for assessing symptom severity in bipolar disorder.
What Is A Blood Biomarker What Does It Reveal
Blood biomarkers are molecules that can indicate a disease or a medical condition. Biomarker patterns and groupings are studied to help healthcare professionals diagnose diseases and conditions accurately.
For example, biomarkers would show similar groups of molecules in a blood test thats standard among individuals with a specific condition.
Biomarkers can also help determine your bodys responseto medications and the appropriate dosage. Also, blood biomarkers could reduce the time it takes to determine the appropriate medication for people with bipolar disorder.
4% of the population. Testing for the condition involves screening and clinical interviews, which could allow for error.
For a doctor to diagnose bipolar disorder, you have to have at least one episode of mania or hypomania.
Individuals with bipolar disorder can also experience depressive episodes. The depressive states present in bipolar disorder may be difficult to distinguish from MDD.
Also, the manic states in bipolar disorder may be challenging to differentiate from schizophrenia.
There isnt a blood test for routine clinical use. But areas for further research on a standardized clinical blood test to help health professionals diagnose and treat bipolar disorder are promising.
Don’t Miss: I Feel Sad And Depressed
How Is Bipolar Disorder Diagnosed
To diagnose bipolar disorder, your healthcare provider may use many tools, including:
- A physical exam.
- A thorough medical history, which will include asking about your symptoms, lifetime history, experiences and family history.
- Medical tests, such as blood tests, to rule out other conditions that could be causing your symptoms, such as hyperthyroidism.
- A mental health evaluation. Your healthcare provider may perform the evaluation, or they may refer you to a mental health specialist, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist.
To be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you must have experienced at least one episode of mania or hypomania. Mental health providers use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to diagnose the type of bipolar disorder a person may be experiencing.
To determine what type of bipolar disorder you may have, your mental health provider assesses the pattern of symptoms and how much they affect your life during the most severe episodes.
People with bipolar disorder are more likely to also have the following mental health conditions:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder .
- Substance use disorders/dual diagnosis.
Because of this, as well as the fact that memory is often impaired during mania so people cant remember experiencing it, it can be difficult for healthcare providers to properly diagnose people with bipolar disorder.
Depression And Bipolar Disorder
Millions of people around the world are affected by mood disorders, but research estimates that around one third of people diagnosed with depression are resistant to antidepressants. While the exact reasons for this are still undetermined, BDNF imbalances might be a factor.
Major depressive disorder or clinical depression, most commonly known simply as depression, is one of the most common mood disorders. To be diagnosed with depression, you must have some of the common symptoms for at least two weeks.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health , these include persistent sad, anxious, or empty mood, feelings of hopelessness, irritability, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, decreased energy or fatigue, and thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts.
The NIMH includes bipolar disorder in its list of types of depression, while noting that it is a different mood disorder. Someone with bipolar disorder experiences episodes of extremely low mood that meet the criteria for major depression but they also experience extreme high moods or a less severe form .
Recommended Reading: What Doctor To See About Depression
Bipolar Disorder In Children And Teens
Diagnosing bipolar disorder in children is controversial, largely because children dont always display the same bipolar disorder symptoms as adults. Their moods and behaviors may also not follow the standards doctors use to diagnose the disorder in adults.
Many bipolar disorder symptoms that occur in children also overlap with symptoms of other conditions that commonly occur in children, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder .
However, in the last few decades, doctors and mental health professionals have come to recognize the condition in children. A diagnosis can help children get treatment, but reaching a diagnosis may take many weeks or months. It may be worth seeking care from a professional who specializes in treating children with mental health conditions.
Like adults, children with bipolar disorder experience extreme mood shifts. They can appear very happy and show signs of excitable behavior, or seem very tearful, low, and irritable.
All children experience mood changes, but bipolar disorder causes distinct and noticeable mood symptoms. Mood changes are also usually more extreme than a childs typical change in mood.
Depressive Symptoms In Children
With bipolar disorder, symptoms of depressive episodes in children can include:
- moping around, acting very sad, or crying frequently
- sleeping too much or too little
- having little energy for usual activities or showing no signs of interest in anything
- complaining about not feeling well, including having frequent headaches or stomachaches
- feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- eating too little or too much
- thoughts of death or suicide
Read Also: When To Take Medicine For Depression
Do I Need Health Insurance To Receive This Service
The referral service is free of charge. If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities.
Bipolar Depression Test: Bipolar Depression Quiz
This bipolar depression test may help you determine if you have the symptoms of bipolar depression. Please keep in mind, there are other illnesses and medications that can mimic the signs of bipolar disorder and bipolar depression. That’s why it’s important to discuss the results of the bipolar depression test with your doctor. Only a doctor or other mental health professional can diagnose bipolar depression.
You May Like: Does Moving Help With Depression
Assessment Tools For Diagnosis
The diagnosis of bipolar disorder is based on a review of symptoms and potential medical explanations for those symptoms, as there is no biological marker for the disorder. In clinical practice, symptoms are frequently reviewed in an unstructured manner. It should be noted, though, that when practitioners do not use structured diagnostic tools, as many as half of comorbid conditions go undetected . Furthermore, many practitioners report that they do not routinely screen for bipolar disorder even among people with a history of major depression, many of whom would meet the diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder . Due to informal or poor screening, the average time between onset of symptoms and formal diagnosis is more than seven years . Improper diagnosis has serious repercussions because antidepressant treatment without mood-stabilizing medication can trigger iatrogenic mania .
What Is The Treatment For Bipolar
Treatment for bipolar includes medicines and talk therapy. Medicine can help keep moods stable. But by itself, medicine isnt enough. A person with bipolar needs talk therapy, too.
Each persons treatment is tailored to what they need. A type of talk therapy called DBT helps most people. In this therapy, people can learn skills to manage moods. For example, they can learn to:
- become more mindful of their emotions and thoughts
- manage their emotions
- cope with strong emotions in healthy ways
- set up and follow routines that help keep moods stable
- be patient and kind to themselves
- care for themselves in positive ways
- get along better with others
With time and practice, these skills can become part of a persons daily life.
Therapy also includes making goals and working out ways to move toward them. In therapy, people track their progress. Many find strengths they didnt know they had.
When possible, parents take part in treatment. This helps them understand bipolar moods and how to best respond. It can help families have less conflict, relate better, and feel closer.
Also Check: Treatments For Depression Other Than Medication
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.
Summary Of Symptom Severity Measures
At least two interview measures , as well as some self-report measures , have received psychometric support. Self-report measures can be completed quickly, but brevity and ease of use may also result in reduced precision. Self-monitoring may also be useful to help increase awareness about symptoms and to track progress over time, but further research is required in this domain.
Also Check: Podcasts To Listen To When Depressed
Conditions That Can Co
Many people with bipolar disorder also have other mental disorders or conditions such as anxiety disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder , misuse of drugs or alcohol, or eating disorders. Sometimes people who have severe manic or depressive episodes also have symptoms of psychosis, such as hallucinations or delusions. The psychotic symptoms tend to match the persons extreme mood. For example, someone having psychotic symptoms during a depressive episode may falsely believe they are financially ruined, while someone having psychotic symptoms during a manic episode may falsely believe they are famous or have special powers.
Looking at symptoms over the course of the illness and the persons family history can help determine whether a person has bipolar disorder along with another disorder.