What is Involved in a Manic Depression Test?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 03 October 2019
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What distinguishes a manic depression test from many other mental health screening assessments are questions designed to detect the presence of mania or hypo-mania. Manic depression, which is now commonly called bipolar disorder, is characterized by cycles of abnormal happiness or optimism. Hypo-mania is a less intense type of mania in which the "up" feelings aren't as strong. A manic depression test is available in different versions online as a self-assessment; if this type indicates a positive for bipolar disorder, a psychiatrist or psychologist can then do a more involved assessment.

Along with answering a certain number of questions on the manic depression test that suggest the presence of mania symptoms, most tests assert that the test-taker must have suffered from depression for at least two weeks. Preferably, there was a previous clinical diagnosis of depression. Interestingly, studies show that women who are bipolar often begin with a depressive episode, while more men first experience a manic cycle.

Depression on a bipolar screening test means the clinical type and not a normal feeling of sadness. The test questions designed to detect clinical depression typically ask sufferers if they are less motivated by things they once loved to do and whether there have been changes in eating and sleeping patterns. People who score positive for the depression questions but not the mania ones may be unipolar rather than bipolar.


Unipolar depression lacks the manic phase associated with bipolar disorder. If a manic depression test indicates no presence of mania, then bipolar disorder may be unlikely. Still, there can be false results, so taking several bipolar self-assessment tests may be a good idea.

In addition to questions developed to detect depressive and manic periods, or cycles, a manic depression test also usually involves the person assessing how much of a problem such episodes have caused in his or her life. This aspect of manic depression tests can help detect the severity of the mental health condition. While all self-assessment manic depression tests are made to help people taking them aware if they have any symptoms of the condition, only a qualified mental health professional such as a psychiatrist or psychologist can make the actual, accurate diagnosis.

What differs between bipolar screening tests given by mental health professionals and the self-assessments available online and in books is a more thorough approach. For example, a psychologist or psychiatrist may have the person who thinks he or she could be manic depressive complete a lifeline. The lifeline exercise involves drawing a horizontal line on paper, then adding significant life events chronologically from the earliest memory to the present. The mental health doctor will then discuss the events with the patient in more detail to see whether he or she notices a pattern that suggests cycles of manic depression.


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Post 3

@Laotionne - The best way to determine if you have manic depression is to talk with a professional and tell him or her what you are experiencing. However, when this is not an option, simple depression tests that can be easily accessed are a good option. My biggest concern is that people who show signs of mental illness and come up with positive results on an online test might not take the next step and reach out for medical help.

Post 2

@Sporkasia - I agree that having the ability to go online and take a manic depression test will probably get a lot more people to take the tests. There are many things that people will do over the computer that they wouldn't do in any other way.

If you have never been diagnosed with clinical bipolar disorder then the manic depression test might be able to shine a light on the condition and on what you are going through in your life. It must be confusing dealing with this condition, especially when you don't know why you are feeling the way you are feeling.

The only thing I would worry about is whether people will be honest with themselves

and answer the questions on the test honestly. Sometimes when I take an online test, I weigh my answers in the way that I think will lead me to the results I want. Someone not wanting to have manic depression might do the same thing, and they might do this without even realizing what they are doing.

Post 1

Though this is changing, there remains a good deal of negativity in the way the general public thinks of depression, manic disorder and mental illness in general. I think this is ridiculous. People who have mental illness are not to blame for their illness, and they should not be ashamed or embarrassed of their conditions.

Until we all become more enlightened, I think the availability of an online depression test and other online mental illness tests is great. People take the tests from their computers and they do not have to be embarrassed because of the stigma associated with their conditions.

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