Bipolar Depression Tests: Why You May Score High for Both Bipolar Disorder and Depression

Your mental health should always be your priority, but it’s not always as straightforward as you would like. If you’re dealing with a mental health disorder, your symptoms could evolve over time or they could overlap with different disorders. That’s why it’s important to acknowledge every part of your mental health disorder to get the best treatment possible.

Bipolar disorder and depression are two of the most common mental health disorders, and it’s possible to have symptoms of both. If you haven’t had a diagnosis for either one, it can be confusing to figure out. The good news is that there are tests or quizzes that can help you navigate all your symptoms so that you can get the support and treatment that you need.

We’ll get started by discussing bipolar disorder as well as the difference between depression and bipolar depression. Then we’ll dive into potential results of bipolar disorder and depression quizzes that could provide insight into bipolar depression.

The basics of bipolar disorder

Previously known as manic-depressive disorder, bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that causes unusual shifts in emotion and energy levels. It consists of switching between periods of manic highs and depressive lows, known as episodes. The extreme mood swings can make it difficult to maintain personal relationships. It can also be hard to handle your everyday responsibilities.

Manic episodes can last up to several days. They cause symptoms including heightened levels of energy, irritability and reckless behavior. The depressive episodes that follow can last two weeks or longer. They have symptoms including overwhelming feelings of sadness, concentration issues and suicidal thoughts.

Bipolar disorder is usually categorized as either bipolar 1 or 2. Bipolar 1 has the highest acuity level of the disorder, with extreme shifts between manic and depressive episodes. Even though bipolar 2 also causes depressive episodes, it consists of hypomania, which has muted symptoms of manic episodes. There’s also a longer period of emotional stability between episodes.

It’s important to note the possibility of cyclothymic disorder. This diagnosis means that episodes can last longer than a year. The symptoms don’t fit the criteria of either bipolar 1 or 2.

The difference between depression and bipolar depression

Major depressive disorder is a common mood disorder, often known as depression. It causes episodes of overwhelming negative feelings and thoughts. Symptoms of depression include social withdrawal, lack of hope for the future and fatigue.

The difference between depression and bipolar depression is how your mood changes after an episode. Both can cause lengthy periods of negative psychological, emotional and behavioral patterns. But individuals with major depressive disorder can experience an episode for months without positive emotions and without a swing into a manic episode. The depressive episodes of bipolar disorder will eventually cycle into a manic episode.

Bipolar disorder and bipolar depression should not be used interchangeably. Bipolar disorder refers to the cycle of manic/hypomanic episodes and depressive episodes. Bipolar depression refers exclusively to the depressive phase. But bipolar depression isn’t a separate diagnosis, as the depressive symptoms follow a period of manic behavior.

Why bipolar depression can lead to high scores on bipolar and depression quizzes

Bipolar depression and major depressive disorder are similar in more ways than one. For instance, bipolar depression and depression both include symptoms of a depressive episode,  including:

  • Pervasive feelings of sadness and malaise
  • Lack of enjoyment in activities
  • Changes in appetite and sleeping patterns
  • Concentration and decision-making problems

It’s possible that bipolar depression is misdiagnosed as major depressive disorder, which could be reflected in the quiz results. Not only do they have overlapping symptoms, but they are also both mood disorders that can have a negative impact on relationships with others as well as your ability to carry out daily tasks.

That’s why it’s not uncommon for someone with bipolar depression to score high on both a bipolar and depression quiz. By taking the quizzes, you can get a better idea of your emotional, thought and behavioral patterns. Then you can see if you solely experience the negative feelings of depression or if you also experience periods of manic symptoms that come from bipolar depression.

Lightfully Behavioral Health can help you with bipolar depression

If you get high scores on both bipolar disorder and depression quizzes, you might be confused about what they mean and what you should do next. While high scores on both quizzes can point to bipolar depression as the source of your symptoms, it’s important to get a formal diagnosis by a mental health care provider.

At Lightfully, we can help you manage your bipolar depression symptoms. We use process-based therapy to provide personalized, holistic treatment in four levels of care: Residential Treatment, Virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (vIOP), Partial Hospitalization Program, also called our Day Treatment Program, and Intensive Outpatient Program.

Change is possible. When you’re ready to take the first step, reach out to our Admissions Concierge Team. We’ll take the next steps together, toward the fullest, brightest version of you.

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