Online bipolar disorder tests may help a person seek further care for potential mental health issues. If a doctor suspects a person has bipolar disorder, they may refer them to a mental health professional.
This article explains what bipolar disorder tests are and whether online tests are accurate. It also describes symptoms of bipolar disorder, how doctors diagnose the condition, questions a doctor may ask, and how to access mental health services.
A variety of online questionnaires and quizzes claim to assist in the self-diagnosis of mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder.
However, mental health professionals may not regulate or verify these tests. As such, results from online tests do not constitute an official diagnosis.
An online test will typically tally and analyze data from a person’s answers to produce results.
The intention of an online bipolar disorder test is to help a person either rule out bipolar disorder or prompt them to seek an official diagnosis based on their answers.
For an accurate diagnosis of bipolar disorder, a person will need to contact a mental health professional, who may ask questions and conduct an assessment in a clinical environment.
Learn more about the signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder at the following links.
An online test may be able to help a person determine whether they are likely to have bipolar disorder. Some online mental health tests may help people better understand their feelings and state of mind.
However, online tests cannot provide a diagnosis that can lead to effective treatment, such as medication, unless they are part of a treatment or screening process administered by a mental health professional.
- They give similar results compared with identical questionnaires an interviewer administers.
- People may answer more truthfully than they would in a social setting.
- They may help screen for mental health conditions in different settings.
- They are fast and easy to use.
The research concerns standardized diagnostic tools, such as the
General online tests, which may not be standardized or associated with trained mental health professionals, may not be accurate.
Their reliability could rely on several factors, including:
- Site credibility: If a person without appropriate mental health experience and knowledge created the questionnaire or test, it will not be reliable. Additionally, if the site is not standardized or accredited and does not originate from a reputable source, it may not be accurate.
- Clarity and presentation of questions: Nonstandardized tests may not present the questions in a clear way that is easy to interpret. This could lead to unclear data from the answers.
- Accuracy of answers: In a clinical setting, a person may be able to clarify the meaning of questions with a mental health professional, such as by asking what terms such as “depression” or “mania” specifically refer to, and be able to reliably gauge their emotions. If a person’s online answers lack accuracy, this could lead to an incorrect assessment or a lack of clear understanding of their condition.
A person can access tests that psychiatrists and mental health professionals have developed, which may help them self-assess for bipolar disorder.
However, online tests are not diagnostic tools. A person cannot use the results of such tests to obtain prescriptions or receive other forms of treatment without an official diagnosis from a mental health professional.
An example of a legitimate test is the Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ). This test may help a mental health professional determine whether a person requires a comprehensive evaluation for bipolar disorder.
Using the MDQ as a self-assessment may help a person decide whether to seek professional help and an official diagnosis.
During depressive episodes, a person with bipolar disorder may:
- isolate from others
- feel sad, worthless, or hopeless
- have less energy and sleep more than usual
- feel a lack of interest in their usual activities
- have difficulties with memory
- experience changes in eating habits
- think about suicide
If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:
- Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
- Listen to the person without judgment.
- Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
- Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
- Try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 988. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or dial 711 then 988.
During a manic episode, a person may feel elated and have a high level of energy, among other symptoms.
Learn more about recognizing bipolar disorder here.
To diagnose bipolar disorder or a depressive episode, a doctor will typically:
- perform a physical exam
- speak with the person about their symptoms and medical history
- order tests to rule out other causes of symptoms, such as hyperthyroidism
- review medications to ensure they are not a potential cause of symptoms
Once they have ruled out other symptom causes, a doctor may refer the person to a mental health professional.
To receive a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, a person must have experienced at least one episode of mania or hypomania.
Mental health professionals use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition, text revision to determine the type and severity of bipolar disorder a person may have.
What questions might a doctor ask?
To diagnose bipolar disorder, a doctor may ask questions relating to:
- symptoms and when they began
- how the person feels in the lead-up to an episode of depression or mania
- whether the person has thoughts about harming themselves during depressive episodes
- medical history
- family history and whether any relatives have bipolar disorder or other mental health conditions
A person can access mental health services through a doctor, who may refer them to a mental health professional.
Individuals can also find help and support through the
The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance also offers access to online support and communities.
It is best for anyone who suspects they may be experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder, depression, or another mental health condition to contact a doctor.
Doctors can offer advice, referrals to services, and, if necessary,
A person should seek urgent care if they or someone they know may be a danger to themselves or others as a result of certain symptoms.
Doctors do not know the precise causes of bipolar disorder. However, research suggests various factors may contribute to the condition, including genes and brain function and structure.
People with certain combinations of genes and those who have a relative with bipolar disorder may be
Although doctors consider bipolar disorder a lifelong condition, some people only experience a couple of episodes in their lifetime, while others may have more frequent episodes.
Ongoing treatment can help a person manage the condition. Treatment for bipolar disorder and depressive bipolar episodes typically involves psychotherapy and medication.
Types of talk therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, may help a person develop coping strategies for managing periods of low mood and other symptoms of bipolar disorder.
A doctor may prescribe various medications to treat bipolar disorder.
- antidepressants, although taking these alone may cause a person with bipolar disorder to experience a manic episode
- mood stabilizers, such as lithium or valproate
- atypical antipsychotics, such as risperidone
- anxiety medications
A doctor may suggest light therapy for people whose depression worsens during winter.
Because bipolar disorder episodes can affect energy levels, mood, and the ability to perform daily tasks, they can significantly impact a person’s life.
However, the outlook for people who experience the condition can improve significantly with ongoing treatment. Effective treatment options may help make symptoms manageable and improve a person’s quality of life.
According to the
This section answers some commonly asked questions about bipolar disorder tests.
Is it possible to self-diagnose bipolar depression?
No, a person cannot self-diagnose bipolar disorder or depression relating to bipolar disorder. A doctor or healthcare professional can diagnose a mental health condition by:
- conducting a physical exam
- performing medical tests to rule out other causes of symptoms
- obtaining a person’s medical history
- performing a mental health evaluation
How can a person know if they have bipolar depression?
A person may suspect they are experiencing a depressive episode of bipolar disorder if they have symptoms associated with the condition. For example, they may feel:
- sad, worthless, or hopeless
- a lack of energy
- a lack of interest in their usual activities
However, it is necessary for a person to contact a doctor or mental health professional to obtain a diagnosis and begin treatment.
Online quizzes and tests are typically not a reliable way to diagnose bipolar disorder. They are not standardized and may have approval from mental health professionals.
To obtain a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, a person will need to contact a doctor or mental health professional.
Contacting an expert can help a person rule out other potential causes of symptoms, better understand their symptoms, and obtain treatment if necessary.