Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis The Mood Disorder Questionnaire By Marcia Purse Marcia Purse Marcia Purse is a mental health writer and bipolar disorder advocate who brings strong research skills and personal experiences to her writing. Learn about our editorial process Updated on April 30, 2021 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Akeem Marsh, MD Medically reviewed by Akeem Marsh, MD LinkedIn Twitter Akeem Marsh, MD, is a board-certified child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist who has dedicated his career to working with medically underserved communities. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Tom M Johnson/Getty Images The Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ) is a screening tool to help doctors better distinguish between depression and bipolar disorder. It was developed by a team of psychiatrists, researchers and consumer advocates led by Robert M.A. Hirschfeld of the University of Texas, Medical Branch. What Does the MDQ Involve? The questionnaire is self-administered and comprised of 5 questions. It asks: if you've experienced any of 13 specific behaviors associated with bipolar disorderif the symptoms you checked in question one occurred at the same timeabout the severity of your symptomsabout your family's history of mental illnessif you've previously been diagnosed with a mental illness You can view the full questionnaire on the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance website. As per the scoring guidelines, if you answer "yes" to seven or more of the items in question one, and "yes" to questions two and three, the screening is considered positive. Is the MDQ Accurate? Early research found the MDQ to have both good sensitivity and specificity. In a 2002 publication, Dr. Hirschfeld reported that the MDQ correctly identified 7 of 10 patients with bipolar disorder, and correctly screened out 9 of 10 patients without bipolar disorder. However, a more recent research report published by Mark Zimmerman et. al. indicates that the results of this questionnaire are more limited than the initial research found. Does This Mean I Have Bipolar Disorder? You shouldn't accept a diagnosis of bipolar disorder based on a brief questionnaire. If your doctor or a therapist uses the MDQ or another similar screening tool, you should simply consider this a starting point towards an accurate diagnosis. Your physician should proceed with a full clinical evaluation for bipolar disorder. Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Hirschfeld, R.M.A. (2002). The mood disorder questionnaire: A simple, patient-rated screening instrument for bipolar disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 4, 9-11. Zimmerman, M., Galione, J.N., Ruggero, C.J., Chelminski, I., McGlinchey, J.B., Dalrymple, K. and Young, D. (2009). Performance of the mood disorders questionnaire in a psychiatric outpatient setting. Bipolar Disorder, 11, 759-765. By Marcia Purse Marcia Purse is a mental health writer and bipolar disorder advocate who brings strong research skills and personal experiences to her writing. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist Online Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.