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Diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and was treated with medicine and therapy. Suggest?

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Addiction Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 2002
Answered : 1486 Questions
My son is diagnosed as having bi-polar disorder and has been treated for several years with medications and therapy. He is continually asked, "who in your family is bi-polar ?" I decided to check and do the self test. I scored a 44 ! NOW WHAT!
Posted Mon, 23 Sep 2013 in Bipolar Disorder
Answered by Dr. Preeti Parakh 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
The self test score means nothing. Forget it.

Detailed Answer:

Welcome to Healthcare Magic!

I understand that people with bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses are often asked in detail about presence of the same illness in family members, which may appear discomfiting at times. However, there is a very simple reason for this query. It has been found that if one person with bipolar disorder responds well to a medicine, it is likely that his family members with the same illness will also respond well to the same medicine. Hence, the choice of medicine depends on the answer to this question.

In your case, you have applied a self test for bipolar disorder and scored 44. Although you have not mentioned which test you applied, I have no qualms in saying that the test result has no significance. You are 70 years old, and if you had bipolar disorder, you would surely have known by now, as the severity of the disease would have ensured that you contact doctors and seek treatment.

The self tests are neither specific nor sensitive tests. Diagnosis of all mental illnesses is based on detailed history from both the patient and the family members and mental status examination. History is also taken from family members to corroborate the information from the patient and also because many times, patients are unable to give complete information.

Hence, please do not bother about taking any more self tests. Please also do not feel bad if your son is queried about family history again.

Hope this answers your query. Please feel free to contact us again if you want any clarifications.

Best wishes.

Dr Preeti Parakh
MD Psychiatry
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