Bipolar Depression Quiz

Understanding Bipolar Disorder and Depression Tests

It is very natural to experience episodes of low when you lose general interest in the day to day activities. However, if these symptoms persist for a longer period of time, it could be depression. When this happens, your quality of life can get seriously affected. It is estimated that at least 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In fact, almost 7.6 percent of the total population has a tendency to develop depression within a period of 2 weeks. The numbers are more than enough to highlight the seriousness of the issue. If it persists for a longer period of time, depression can also stem from various other types of disabilities. Therefore, it is very important to keep a tab on your mental health.

Studies have revealed that women are at a greater risk of developing depression as compared to men. Furthermore, the symptoms could vary from one person to the other making it increasingly difficult to diagnose. However, the common symptoms include bereavement, constant mood changes, and a general lack of interest in day to day activities. Depression can be triggered by a number of factors such as genetics, psychology, environment and biological factors.

What does not classify as depression?

While it is important to keep an eye out for depressive symptoms, it is also important to know the distinctions between temporary emotional changes and depressive symptoms. General mood fluctuation is a very normal thing that all experience every once in a while and it does not count as depression. The natural response to challenges faced on a daily basis should not be confused with depression. Likewise, bereavement resulting from the loss of a loved one also does not classify as depression. These emotions could be difficult for a person to handle. However, bereavement is entirely different from depression.

It can be said that there are some similarities between depression and bereavement. The basic similarity is that both are characterized by extreme sadness and an inclination to withdraw from society. However, there are marked differences between the two as can be generalized in the following points.

  • During bereavement, you feel sad interlaced with positive memories. For example, after the death of a loved one. During a depression, it is only sadness and a major lack of happiness and pleasure for a period longer than two weeks.

  • The person experiencing intense grief still has his self-esteem intact. However, depression is accompanied by a low self-esteem and even self-loathing.

  • Although grief and depression are different from one another, if the two overlap, it could lead to more intense and prolonged feeling of grief.

Different types of depression

  1. Unipolar and bipolar depression

If the person has been experiencing depressed mood for a substantially long period of time, it is classified as a unipolar depression. However, if there are short episodes of both extremely high and extreme low, it is classified as bipolar depression. Bipolar depression is also termed as manic depression. A person suffering from bipolar disorder experiences depressive symptoms more than 40% of the time. This makes it rather difficult to distinguish between unipolar and bipolar depression.

In the past, bipolar disorder was merely considered to be one of the various types of depression. However, it has been revealed that there are some key differences between the two. Therefore, depression and bipolar disorder can also be treated as entirely different conditions altogether. Confusing one for the other does not only render the treatment ineffective but can also lead to more complications.

During depression, the person feels an unshakeable emptiness. He or she may also experience a loss of appetite, insomnia, and difficulty in concentrating. Feelings of worthlessness and suicidal thoughts are common in depressed people. Some days may be better off than the rest. However, there is still a strong undertone of sadness. Bipolar disorder, on the other hand, is quite different. In this case, the person tends to experience extreme mood swings. During the lows, the symptoms are very similar to that of depression. However, during the highs, the depressive symptoms vanish completely and the person may even enter an elated or an ecstatic frame of mind.

So basically, a person suffering from bipolar disorder is continuously rocking to and fro between two extreme poles. Each episode can last anywhere from a few hours to days, weeks or even months. Bipolar disorder can be further classified into various types. It is also possible to feel depression and the manic symptoms together. In such cases, the person experiences depression together with a general feeling of irritability, restlessness, and agitation.

  1. Depression with psychosis

When depression exists together with psychosis, the person can experience delusions, get detached from basic reality, develop false beliefs and even hallucinate or sense nonexistent things.

  1. Postpartum depression

Postpartum depression is also known as postnatal depression and is experienced by women who have just given birth. It is triggered by hormonal changes and could be very intense when it strikes.

  1. Depression with seasonal pattern

Seasonal affective disorder is also known as SAD and occurs when a person does not receive enough of sunlight. SAD commonly occurs during the winter but lifts as soon as the season starts to change. This type of depression can be effectively treated through light therapy. Seasonal Affective Disorder is more common in countries that tend to have long, harsh winters.

Signs and symptoms

The signs of depression can vary from one person to the other. The common symptoms are

  • Depressed mood

  • A lack of interest in things that were enjoyable earlier

  • Reduced sex drive

  • Loss of appetite

  • Sleeping problems

  • Psychomotor agitation resulting in restlessness

  • Fatigue and lethargy

  • Guilty feeling

  • A delay in the psychomotor response which becomes apparent during speech and movement

  • Impaired concentration

  • Difficulty in making decisions

  • Suicidal thoughts and attempts

  • Overindulgence in purposeless activities

A person suffering from bipolar disorder experiences all of the above symptoms during depressive episodes. However, In addition to these, he or she may also experience the following symptoms during manic episodes.

  • Anger

  • Agitation

  • Feelings of grandiosity or inflated self-importance

  • Feeling completely rested even after short hours of sleep

  • Difficulty in concentrating

  • Impaired judgment

  • Feeling more drawn to unimportant things

  • Overindulgence in pleasurable activities such as shopping, sexual activities, impulsive investment decisions and so on.

  • Increase in the activities that are oriented towards a goal

If it is depression, the symptoms can last for a minimum of two weeks. Some of these symptoms are also exhibited during other conditions such as brain tumor, vitamin deficiency, and thyroid problems. Therefore, in order to confirm depression or bipolar disorder, it is very important to rule out these medical conditions through diagnosis. It is estimated that at least one out of 15 adults suffer from depression at any given point in time. Also, one in six people is bound to experience depression during their entire lifetime. Among the people who develop this condition, the symptoms first start to show up during the mid-20s or the late teenage years.

Causes

The exact causes of depression and bipolar disorder are not well understood. In any case, it is most likely to have stemmed out of a number of underlying factors. However, it is believed that these conditions result from a complex combination of the following:

  • Genetic make up

  • The environment that a person is exposed to for a long period of time

  • Biological changes in the body

  • Social and psychological factors

Some people have a greater risk of developing depression as compared to others. These are determined by various risk factors as mentioned below:

  • Events that leave a deep impact, such as work issues, financial problems, stress, general health, friend circle, relationships, divorce, the death of a loved one, and so on

  • Weak personality with incorrect strategies to cope with trauma and challenging situations

  • Having blood relation with a person suffering from depression increases your chances of developing the same

  • Trauma faced during childhood

  • Prolonged use of some prescription drugs such as interferon, corticosteroids and beta blockers

  • Drug abuse, alcohol abuse

  • An injury to the head

  • A person who has experienced depression earlier is more likely to develop the condition once again, later in life

  • Chronic health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pain, and so on.

Understanding the difference between bipolar disorder and depression

In order to determine the right treatment approach, it is very important to understand the differences between bipolar disorder and unipolar depression. This is because bipolar depression cannot be treated with antidepressants. In fact, it can only trigger conditions such as hypomania wherein the person experiences more rapid mood fluctuation, thereby making the condition even worse. Antidepressants can also render the mood stabilizing medicines almost ineffective.

Although the two conditions share a lot of similarities, some of the symptoms such as guilt, agitation, restlessness and unpredictable mood changes are more common to bipolar disorder. People suffering from bipolar disorder also sleep a lot, have slow reaction time and visible weight gain. Furthermore, people suffering from bipolar disorder are more likely to make a transition into psychotic depression as compared to people with regular depression.

Bipolar depression can be divided into three main types –

  1. Bipolar disorder I

In this type of bipolar disorder, the patient will have experienced a manic episode at least once, irrespective of whether he or she has experienced depressive symptoms.

  1. Bipolar Disorder II

This is when the patient has already had one episode of depression and hypomania or elevated mood. In this case, the manic bouts are short-lived while the depressive episodes last for a much longer period of time. Hypomanic episodes do not have any adverse effects on the normal functioning. However, treatment is required to deal with the depressive episodes.

  1. Cyclothymic disorder

People suffering cyclothymic disorder have frequent mood fluctuations with a number of hypomanic and depressive episodes in short time intervals. The symptoms experienced during each of these phases have a marked difference from one another. However, they have a significant deviation from the depressive and hypomanic episodes in the above two types of bipolar disorder.

When to see a doctor?

As can be seen from above, depression can show up together with a number of symptoms. Furthermore, the symptoms can come with varying intensities. It could range from general sadness to extreme hopelessness. One way to know that you have been suffering from depression is when you also experience the physical symptoms such as reduced sex drive, loss of appetite, sleeping problems, constant tiredness, body aches, and so on. If you are confused whether it is simply a low mood or depression, you can try out the online test to see if you need to visit the doctor. If it appears to be depression, it is important to seek medical help without any further delay. Timely treatment gives way to a more effective recovery.

Bipolar Depression Test

Depression can last for a period of 6 to 8 months. In the beginning, it may be difficult to identify the condition. Furthermore, depression can be of various types. However, the condition can only be treated effectively with professional help. Therefore, it is extremely important to consult a specialist as soon as the condition is identified. For a diagnosis, doctors will first conduct a physical examination and also perform tests to determine any coexisting conditions.

The patients are subjected to a specially formulated questionnaire or bipolar quiz which helps in determining the severity of depression. You can also find a number of online tests quizzes the same. One such is the Hamilton depression rating scale, which is a set of 21 questions. It is also the most popularly used tool for the assessment of depression. These quizzes usually last for a few minutes and often help in determining if your symptoms indicate the presence of bipolar depression. However, these tests are not the final word in determining the actual condition of a patient.

Bipolar Depression Quiz Treatment

When people talk about depression, they are most likely referring to unipolar depression. With correct diagnosis and proper approach, it is a completely treatable condition. The treatment and management of depression comprise of three main components as mentioned below.

  1. Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is where the patient is given talking therapies. There are various types of psychotherapies including problem-solving treatment, interpersonal psychotherapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy also known as CBT. If the depression is just in its starting phase and quite mild, it is very much possible to overcome it through psychotherapy alone. However, if it has already progressed to a serious stage, it is also important to opt for other forms of treatment simultaneously.

In Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, the patient is put to individual sessions with a professional therapist. The sessions could be one to one or together with a group. Recently, these sessions are also held online as it has been found to be more effective this way. Both CBT, as well as Interpersonal therapy, are very much important as it helps in identifying the major emotional issues that are affecting the patient.

  1. Antidepressant medicines

Antidepressants are available only with a strict prescription. There are various drugs intended for moderate to severe conditions. However, these drugs are only prescribed to adolescents. There are different classes of the antidepressant medications as mentioned below

    1. SSRIs or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors

    2. MAOIs or monoamine oxidase inhibitors

    3. Tricyclic antidepressants

    4. Atypical antidepressants

    5. SNRI or selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors

Each of these drugs has different working mechanisms and act on different neurotransmitters. These drugs should only be used under strict medical supervision and should not be stopped when the symptoms seem to have improved. Abruptly stopping the administration can result in a relapse of the earlier symptoms. However, there is also some risk associated with the use of antidepressants. According to the Food and Drug Administration, these medicines seem to trigger suicidal thoughts, especially among the young adults. Furthermore, some of these drugs can also lead to dependence, addiction and withdrawal symptoms if stopped abruptly. So even if you experience any unwanted side effects, the future course should be determined only after a consultation with the doctor.

  1. ETC or Electroconvulsive Therapy

Electroconvulsive therapy is mainly given to patients who do not see to benefit much from the above two therapies. This approach is also very effective for patients suffering from psychotic depression. Given below are some details regarding the electroconvulsive therapy:

    • It is still effective when all other treatment approaches have failed. The therapy can be effective on people with severe depression

    • In cases where the use of medications seems to be unsafe or immediate relief is required, ETC can be used

    • Earlier, ETC used to be entirely inpatient process. However, today, it is also available as an outpatient process. The patients are required to have upto three sessions each week for a period of about four weeks

    • ETC comes with side effects such as disorientation, confusion and memory loss. While some of these side effects are only short-lived, others such as memory loss can last for a much longer period of time. However, advancements in the field of science and technology have made ETC much more effective than it used to be earlier. Anyone who decides to undergo ETC should be well aware of all the benefits as well as potential risks

    • Despite the common belief, ETC is not painful. It is given under anesthesia. So the patient will hardly feel any electric impulses during the process. The process takes only a few minutes to get completed and the patient will feel completely alert after the session is over.

Recently, some more types of brain stimulation therapies have been introduced. This includes rTMS or repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation and VNS or vagus nerve stimulation. A few other treatment approaches are still under study. In addition to the above therapies, regular exercise can also prove to be highly beneficial in alleviating depression. Exercises such as aerobics can be highly effective in managing mild depressive symptoms as it increases the level of endorphins and alters the stimulation of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that is directly reacted to mood.

In most cases, bipolar disorder is misdiagnosed as regular depression or even missed entirely. If it is bipolar depression, the treatment approach should be individual specific, meaning that the treatment approach for two people could be entirely different. The patients are commonly given prescriptions for mood stabilizers such as lithium along with antipsychotic medicines. Using antidepressants alone can only aggravate the hypomanic symptoms. Over the course of time, when the condition has improved significantly, the medicines can be adjusted or switched. During the treatment process, it is also important to keep a track of sleep patterns, daily mood, appetite, and so on. A close assessment of these factors can help in making a more effective recovery.

Conclusion

Living with conditions such as depression and bipolar disorder is definitely not easy. However, you can still make your life a lot more livable through determination and effective management. The most important thing is to understand the root causes of your condition and making some basic lifestyle changes accordingly. A healthy amount of exercise is a must. At the same time, you should also quit unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking alcohol and switch to a healthier diet.

Having a strong support group could also be very helpful. You should make an effort in cultivating positive and productive habits such as reading good self-help books. It would also help to set realistic goals for oneself and work steadily towards it. In any case, one should not keep things bottled up within themselves. However, it is also important that you confide your issues only to trusted friends and family members. If you have been considering about changing your job or getting a divorce, it would be better to postpone it till you regain your composure. The more you share, the more help you receive. With determination and self-resistance, it is entirely possible to keep both depression and bipolar disorder under the reigns.