Online bipolar disorder screening tool shown to improve lives

April 19, 2013, University of New South Wales
Online bipolar disorder screening tool shown to improve lives

(Medical Xpress)—Affecting 6% of Australians, bipolar disorder is characterised by distinctive fluctuations in mood and energy.

UNSW researcher Professor Gordon Parker, based at the Black Dog Institute, says that while understanding has increased, bipolar disorder is still frequently under-diagnosed. A significant percentage of people with the condition never receive a and, of those who do, the interval from onset of the condition can be 15-20 years. 

"Most people with bipolar disorder experience depression and periods of elevated mood - termed mania or hypomania. Such are often viewed as simply reflecting personality style or waxing and waning. Thus, failure to obtain the can lead to inappropriate or no treatment for a condition that can be brought under control."

" leads to people spending years on the wrong treatments without relief from their symptoms. This situation is distressing and life-threatening, with bipolar disorder having the highest suicide rate of all ."

Funded by the Department of Health and Ageing, Black Dog Institute researchers have developed and trialled an evidence-based screening self-test to help people identify the likelihood that they might have a bipolar disorder. The self-test is completed by more than 30,000 people/month.  

Trial participants accessed the self-test via the Black Dog website and were followed for 3 months to determine if receiving a positive screening 'diagnosis' changed the trajectory of their illness. The trial had a number of important outcomes and results were recently published in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica.

"More than two-thirds of respondents receiving a "positive" test went on to seek further clinical clarification of such a diagnosis," says Professor Parker. "While the majority of those who screened positive had an improved outcome, those who had the diagnosis confirmed and their management modified appropriately improved most distinctly on a range of measures, including depression severity, functioning and quality of life."

"These results indicate that a simple, readily accessible, anonymous and free screening test for bipolar disorder not only has the capacity to accurately detect (with an overall accuracy rate of some 80%) but that it can assist people who have not previously received a diagnosis to seek more specific help for a distinctive and specific mood disorder, reducing suffering and improving quality of life."

The online bipolar self-test and associated clinician-based Mood Assessment Program (MAP) are free and available from www.blackdoginstitute.org.au.

Explore further: Brain imaging identifies bipolar risk

More information: newsroom.unsw.edu.au/sites/def … test%20acps12017.pdf

Related Stories

Brain imaging identifies bipolar risk

December 17, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—Researchers from the Black Dog Institute and University of NSW have used brain imaging technology to show that young people with a known genetic risk of bipolar but no clinical signs of the condition have ...

Lawson researcher sings the baby blues

August 22, 2012
The impact of bipolar disorder during pregnancy has been hotly contended among the research community. Now, a new study from Lawson Health Research Institute and Western University is sorting out the debate and calling for ...

Borderline personality, bipolar disorders have similar unemployment rates

December 11, 2012
Unemployment poses a significant burden on the public no matter what the cause. But for those who have been diagnosed with a psychiatric illness, chronic unemployment is often coupled with significant health care costs. A ...

Can proper nutrition regulate mood swings?

January 23, 2013
In a new study, preliminary data yields conflicting but mainly positive evidence for the use of n–3 fatty acids and chromium in the treatment of bipolar depression. Limited evidence found that inositol may be helpful for ...

Recommended for you

When it comes to our brains, there's no such thing as normal

February 20, 2018
There's nothing wrong with being a little weird. Because we think of psychological disorders on a continuum, we may worry when our own ways of thinking and behaving don't match up with our idealized notion of health. But ...

Jymmin: How a combination of exercise and music helps us feel less pain

February 20, 2018
Pain is essential for survival. However, it could also slow the progress of rehabilitation, or in its chronic form could become a distinct disorder. How strongly we feel it, among other factors, depends on our individual ...

College roommates underestimate each other's distress, new psychology research shows

February 19, 2018
College roommates are sensitive to their roommates' distress but tend to underestimate the level of distress being experienced by others, finds a newly published study from New York University psychology researchers.

New approaches in neuroscience show it's not all in your head

February 16, 2018
Our own unique experiences shape how we view the world and respond to the events in our lives. But experience is highly subjective. What's distressing or joyful to one person may be very different to another.

Link between hallucinations and dopamine not such a mystery, finds study

February 16, 2018
Researchers at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) and New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI) found that people with schizophrenia who experience auditory hallucinations tend to hear what they expect, ...

People find comfort listening to the same songs over and over, study finds

February 16, 2018
With the frequency that some people play their favorite song, it's a good thing vinyl records aren't used often because they might wear out.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.