Do You Have Bipolar Disorder Test?
Are you Bipolar?
What does bipolar look and feel like?
When you’re depressed you know you’re depressed but recognising when you’re manic can be much harder;
The main characteristics to watch out for that indicate mania are sustained periods of noticeably:-
increased mental and physical speed (speeded up thoughts, speech, flow of ideas),
diminished need to sleep,
increased impulsive risk-taking (sex, spending, hedonistic stuff),
there may also be aggressivity,
the may also be feelings of euphoria.
Complete the bipolar disorder questionnaire self-test below for more details.
An important point I’d like to make is mania and hypomania do not always include the feeling of euphoria, online you will see bipolar described as alternating depressed and euphoric moods but it’s not like that, euphoria is just one possible characteristic, when mania gets mixed with depression at the same time it causes a bipolar mixed state or a mixed affective state, I’ve had bipolar mixed states myself and it feels horrible not at all euphoric.
Being manic is like being high on cocaine, too much coffee/caffeine and maybe a little alcohol but without you having taken any drugs.
The symptoms of bipolar disorder vary from person to person, there are also significant differences between the full mania of bipolar type I and the hypo-mania of bipolar Type II and bipolar mixed affective states present a complex but still recognisable picture; what I think can be sometimes be difficult to distinguish between are some presentations of bipolar disorder versus ADHD and bipolar disorder versus borderline personality disorder.
It’s by learning to read the signs of how we feel, how we think and especially how we behave that we can diagnosed bipolar disorder, there are no blood or urine tests, you can’t measure your neurotransmitter levels in the same way you can test blood sugar levels to see if you have diabetes and so far brain scans cannot be used to definitively diagnose bipo’s lar disorder, although the brain scans of people with bipolar can show different levels of activity compared to people without bipolar the patterns seen are not yet useful as a definitive diagnosis and more importantly they do not help us to work out the right treatment, remember the point to a diagnosis is to help you to understand what’s happening to you, to point you in the direction of potential helpful treatments and ultimately to affected solutions, it’s not just to give you a label.
I don’t think we should feel too disappointed that there are no neurotransmitter or brain scan test for bipolar disorder because despite the lack tests we can still reliably identify the condition by learning how to identify the signs and manifestations of bipolar. Furthermore the symptoms of bipolar disorder can change from day to day even hour to hour and you’re not going to have a test every few hours to measure your brain/neurotransmitter activity to tell you how to adjust your prescription, but learning how to read the signs enables us to self-monitor and self-medicate which is what this website and my practice are dedicated to helping you to do.
Elsewhere I discuss how with some simple self-monitoring we can ‘diagnose’ not only the phases of our condition but even which neurotransmitters are going out of balance and what to do about it.
Rather than just use a blanket coverall label such as bipolar type I bipolar Type II we can analyse the individual manifestations of our condition for example during bouts of mania the level of activity of dopamine, norepinephrine and glutamate become excessive (see Bipolar Disorder Neurotransmitters), the neurotransmitter glutamate stimulates the brain and speeds our thinking processes so when we notice ourselves starting to talk too quickly, having racing thoughts, having a lot of energy and moving our body quickly we can recognise glutamate is going to high and we are becoming manic and then take remedies that naturally attenuate glutamate activity, similarly both excessive and deficient dopamine activity can lead us to pursue excitement and excess norepinephrine activity can lead us to emboldened reckless and risk-taking behaviours.
Why recognising mania in oneself can be difficult initiallyIn mania you can be a little too far gone and crazy to recognise that you’ve gone crazy and hypomania doesn’t feel crazy and may not look like mental illness to other people although it may look a bit intense. The hyper-mania or just mania you get with bipolar type I is very clear at least the people on the outside and typically leads to a quick diagnosis, the more subtle hypomania you get with bipolar Type II whether may go unrecognised and it’s not uncommon for people to have the condition for many years before it is properly diagnosed. People with bipolar Type II may only go to the doctor when they have a depression phase and the doctor may not ask enough questions to spot the tell-tale signs of hypomania that indicate bipolar Type II, I’ve met several people who only discovered they have bipolar Type II when they were prescribed antidepressants from their doctor which then induced a clear and obvious switch into a manic state.
I have bipolar disorder and it took me years to learn to recognise the manic side of my condition, when you’re depressed you don’t really need help making a diagnosis you know you’re depressed but it can be hard to self-diagnose or recognise mania and hypomania.
Sometimes mental health problems present on their own in a clear and straightforward fashion like having depression on its own or anxiety on its own quite often however conditions exist together (called comorbid) for example a person can have both anxiety and depression and this can easily be mistaken for a bipolar-mixed-state which is a combination of depression and mania/hypomania.
Why getting a good understanding diagnosis of your condition mattersThe quicker and better you can learn to recognise the signs of mania the quicker you can work out the right treatment, not only does this help your mental health but untreated bipolar disorder takes quite a toll on the physical body and the brain, bipolar disorder increases your risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, stroke, pulmonary disease and dementia; now that I know this I follow a diet and lifestyle that combats or these conditions.
When you start to self-monitor you may only be able to recognise a manic attack when it’s happening or after it happened but of course much better is to learn to recognise the early stages that you are building up to it and it’s coming on before it fully hijack your mind, when you develop the ability to read the early warning signs that you are heading towards mania then you can apply pre-emptive treatment to nip it in the bud.
Within a year of recognising that I had bouts of bipolar mania and hypomania I could recognise I was having them while I was having them and aggressively apply treatment to end the hijacking within a day, within two years I learned how to recognise the early warning signs that mania was coming on I could see the hijacking coming, initially I had half a day or just a few hours warning as I got more skilled at reading the signs I would have days of warning and could prevent the hijacking from ever happening.
I hope the information on this page helps you to understand and gain control of your condition, see also:
Self-Monitoring and Treating Bipolar disorder
Treating Bipolar Mania with Natural Remedies
Treating Bipolar Depression with Natural Remedies