Bipolar Bites
Bipolar Bites

Bipolar blogger Natasha Tracy offers exclusive insight into the world of bipolar disorder.

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Are you Bipolar? Take the Test that Doctors Use

A questionnaire from the BSDS Okay, let me just say this up front: you cannot diagnose yourself with bipolar disorder no matter how good the web test is. You absolutely need a professional to diagnose you, not to mention treat you, so no matter what this bipolar test says, if you have any concerns, go see your doctor.

I’ve seen many bipolar tests online. Some of them are absolutely ridiculous while others have the best of intentions in terms of indicating the presence of bipolar disorder. What I’ve never seen though, is a scientifically validated one. Until now, that is.

The Bipolar Spectrum Diagnostic Scale

Today I introduce the Bipolar Spectrum Diagnostic Scale (BSDS). This scale is based off of the Bipolar Clinical Scale developed by Dr. Ronald Pies, later to be refined by Dr. S. Nassir Ghaemi and colleagues. Pies developed this test to detect bipolar disorder within the treatment-resistant depression population. The BSDS is based off the most helpful questions Pies developed.

Recently diagnosed with bipolar? 30+ people living with the disease have some important words for you>>

The cool thing about this scale is that it is designed to detect not just bipolar I and bipolar II, but also “softer” versions of bipolar disorder like other bipolar and related disorders (previously known as bipolar NOS).

The BSDS was scientifically validated and has a 0.85 specificity. (Yes, this means it doesn’t catch all cases of bipolar disorder. No test can be expected to.)

The Bipolar Test: The Bipolar Spectrum Diagnostic Scale

The BSDS consists of two parts. In the first part, the patient is given 19 statements to read. The patient is asked to place a checkmark next to the statements that describe themselves. In the second part, the patient is asked how well the statements, overall, describe them.

The Bipolar Spectrum Diagnostic Scale Test Statements

Examples of the BSDS test statements include:

  • Some individuals notice that their mood and/or energy levels shift drastically from time to time.
  • These individuals notice that, at times, their mood and/or energy level is very low, and at other times, very high.
  • During their ''low'' phases, these individuals often feel a lack of energy; a need to stay in bed or get extra sleep; and little or no motivation to do things they need to do.
  • They may be more talkative, outgoing, or sexual during these periods.
  • Sometimes, they increase their alcohol or non-prescription drug use during these high periods.

See all the BSDS test statements here.

Recently diagnosed with bipolar? 30+ people living with the disease have some important words for you »

Scoring the Bipolar Diagnostic Scale Test

Scoring the BSDS is easy. The patient receives one point for each statement they feel describes them. In the second part, the patient is given between 2-6 points depending on how well all the statements describe them. The more points the patient gets, the more likely bipolar disorder is. Thirteen points is considered the threshold after which bipolar disorder is likely. Note that this test does not indicate what type of bipolar disorder you may have.

Find more on scoring the BSDS test here.

Taking the Bipolar Diagnostic Scale Test

So, like I said, even if you take this test and you’re off the scale bipolar, remember that no test is 100 percent accurate. Remember that a clinician with training and experience is better than any online bipolar test.

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About the Author

Natasha Tracy is an award-winning writer who specializes in writing about bipolar disorder.