A common misconception is that these episodes last only a few hours to minutes. In reality, a depressive episode lasts anywhere from 6 months to 2 years and a manic (or hypo-manic) episodes can last several months. These need not be alternate, two consecutive manic episodes will also be diagnosed as bipolar disorder. A few people may also suffer “mixed” affective states, with an overlap of depressive and manic features.
Take the mood disorder questionnaire to screen for bipolar disorder. Clinical trials have indicated that the MDQ has a high rate of accuracy; it isable to identify seven out of ten people who have bipolar disorder and screen out nine out of tenpeople who do not. If this test suggests bipolarity please seek help from a qualified mental health professional.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT:This instrument was developed by a committee composed of the following individuals: Chairman, Robert M.A. Hirschfeld, MD – University of Texas Medical Branch; Joseph R. Calabrese, MD – Case Western Reserve School of Medicine; Laurie Flynn – National Alliance for the Mentally Ill; Paul E. Keck, Jr., MD – University of Cincinnati College ofMedicine; Lydia Lewis – National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association; Robert M. Post, MD – National Institute ofMental Health; Gary S. Sachs, MD – Harvard University School of Medicine; Robert L. Spitzer, MD – Columbia University; Janet Williams, DSW – Columbia University and John M. Zajecka, MD – Rush Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center.
The test consists of 15 questions, it should not take over 5 minutes to complete.