Let's imagine for a second that you believe you might have bipolar disorder due to some tell-tale signs that are typically associated with the mental health disorder. If you are like most people who grew up with the internet, your first instinct might be to scour the internet in search of answers. The internet is packed with information about the disorder and can provide you with a variety of symptoms that may or may not indicate that you are bipolar—but is there truly a definitive answer to whether or not you have bipolar based on an online test?
In addition to the myriad of guides and articles that you will find regarding this topic, there are also many bipolar quizzes that you will be prompted to take as you sort through the pages of your chosen search engine. At its core, an online bipolar disorder quiz is a well-meaning offer that is designed to help you get a better idea of whether or not you may be affected by this common mental health issue, but the question remains…
This is an important question to ask, as you may be receiving the wrong information and potentially self-diagnosing a disorder that you are not truly exhibiting symptoms of—which can lead to seeking out inappropriate or ineffective treatments. This article will serve to help you better understand the purpose of the bipolar questionnaire and whether or not you should rely on its accuracy (if it is an accurate tool at your disposal).
If you've found yourself typing, "How do I know if I'm bipolar?" and want some feedback on your bipolar quiz choices or results, let's dive in.
The answer to this question is not as straightforward as you would think. There are a lot of factors that play into the accuracy and credibility of the quiz that you are taking. Here are some of the factors that will affect a quiz online should you choose to take one.
Although a quick Google search with the question “Am I bipolar?” will yield plenty of results, not all of those results will be reliable. As an experienced internet user can tell you, however, not every website listed is relevant or trustworthy, and the site’s reputation extends directly to the quiz that is being offered.
Taking a bipolar test from a reputable source, such as a research site or educational site, will yield far better results than taking a similar test on a lesser-known, poorly maintained psychology website that provides you with no indication of whether or not the people who are creating and posting these tests have the appropriate psychology experience and credentials.
Bipolar tests from high-quality, reliable websites are going to yield much better results in terms of accuracy than tests from unknown and untrustworthy places.
Uncertainty about your symptoms can make accurately answering a bipolar quiz particularly difficult. If you are not sure what it means to feel mania, for instance, you may not be able to answer a question about manic episodes. If you are not certain what the more nuanced facets of bipolar disorder are, you may not be able to determine whether or not your symptoms align with typical bipolar symptoms.
Say, for example, that a quiz phrases things in a complex way or in a way that makes you doubt your feelings or feel uncertain about them. If you do not have a clear answer for each question or are unable to gauge your emotions properly, this is going to make the accuracy level of any quiz plummet and will alter your results.
While you are one half of the equation in regard to helping determine whether or not you are bipolar, the quiz is the other half of the equation and is responsible for helping you to get there. Not every quiz is built the same, and you will not see important questions phrased or presented in a certain way in every quiz that you encounter. For example, search results that stem from, "I think I'm bipolar," are going to be significantly different than the results of searching, "Am I bipolar or depressed?" The quizzes that pop up in one category will most likely tackle different issues and will not be as comprehensive as quizzes that come out of your second search.
To put it another way, the way that your quiz phrases and forms your questions, the way it presents them to you and how it accepts responses, and how well they are examining the disorder all play into the accuracy of your quiz.
This brings us to another important topic: the scope of bipolar disorder. Even though bipolar disorder might sound like one issue across the board, bipolar disorder is like many other conditions and disorders, as there are various types of this disorder, and they will affect individuals in different ways. What are the differences? Let's take a look at some variations of this disorder that you might be affected by.
Bipolar I Disorder
Bipolar I Disorder is a disorder in which affected individuals will typically deal with manic episodes that will last seven days or more or will feature symptoms so severe that immediate hospitalization is required. These manic episodes will alternate with depressive episodes that will typically last two weeks or more. In some instances, individuals will experience depressive episodes that feature manic symptoms.
Manic Symptoms Are Defined As:
Depressive Symptoms Are Defined As:
Note: If you or a loved one are having suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harm, reach out for help immediately at 1-800-273-8255.
Bipolar II Disorder
Bipolar II Disorder is a disorder in which someone will experience a pattern of alternating manic and depressive episodes but not to the degree that one would experience in the previous disorder. Those with Bipolar II Disorder will often be able to function more readily in their daily lives because of the reduced severity of symptoms.
If you are familiar with dysthymia, you may have a clue as to what cyclothymia is. Cyclothymic disorder is a disorder that is characterized by the alternating of many manic episodes and depressive episodes that occurs for two years or more. These symptoms will be more manageable and may not be as noticeable to some people as they carry on with their day-to-day lives, which is why this disorder may go unnoticed for some time until people reach out for help for depressive symptoms or other mental health conditions.
Bipolar Disorder With Various Specifiers
The first two types of bipolar disorder are the most common, but there are also other types of bipolar disorders that have varying qualities known as specifiers. Some of the most common specifiers include:
Keep in mind that there are various variations within the disorder and the symptoms experienced, and they may not all be listed here. As such, this extensive list should help you understand the scope of bipolar disorder and how it can impact you and interact with other mental health issues, but should not be considered an exhaustive catalogue of all bipolar and bipolar-related disorders.
Should I Take Online Bipolar Quizzes?
All of this information may leave you with the question: “Should I be taking bipolar quizzes in the first place?” While they can help you learn more about the disorder and see whether or not you may have some of the symptoms, they are not an effective way to diagnose bipolar disorder if you do have it.
So, how do you know if you have bipolar disorder? The best way to learn more about whether or not you have a disease is to reach out to a mental health professional who can properly assess and diagnose you. This way, you will receive a legitimate diagnosis, eliminate the potential for error, and have access to the help you will need to take the next step in treatment and coping.
If you're looking to take the first step but don't know where to start, we recommend visiting BetterHelp. BetterHelp is an online counseling platform designed to make the therapy process easier by quickly connecting certified counselors to patients on the web so that users can get treatment on a flexible schedule and from the comfort of their own home. Sound interesting? Click on the link above to get started today!