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Blood Test to Indicate Bipolar Disorder?

When it comes to mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression, diagnosis is not at all an exact science. A patient tells a doctor or psychiatrist their physical and emotional symptoms, and then the doctor uses his or her judgment to make a diagnosis. Some patients may end up getting diagnosed for an illness that they don't necessarily have, and on the other hand, people who have certain illnesses may not even know it. This kind of diagnosis also makes it hard to determine the severity of the condition.

Well now scientists have discovered 10 genes in the blood that can predict a person's mood, which could help determine if a person has bipolar disorder. This blood test could hit the market in less than five years. It would be a huge breakthrough in the world of psychiatry. Not only could this blood test help to determine whether or not a patient has a mental illness, but it could also help ensure that the patient is getting the right medication to treat it.

This test could also bring up some controversy though. Could a blood test that diagnoses mental illness be mandatory to screen people before they buy guns, enroll in the military, or start a new job? What's your opinion on a blood test for mental illness? Do you think it's a brilliant idea, or could it pose more problems instead?


Join The Conversation
xrockette19x xrockette19x 9 years
As a psych grad student who hopes to become a therapist, I think this is great! I think while it's possible this could be abused, I think that taking a more medical approach to mental disorders would remove a lot of the social stigma attached to it. It could also help bipolar disorder to be treated more effectively, before it becomes a problem. Of course, I would hope that a test such as this wouldn't be used to discriminate against people. The vast, vast majority of bipolar clients are more dangerous to themselves than others, in terms of suicide during their depressive episodes and dangerous behavior (excessive spending, drug use, sexual promiscuity) during their manic episodes. But if this could help us treat them better, we could stop these things before they occur!!
Tutta Tutta 9 years
I think it's a great idea! Bipolar people don't necessarily need to be walking around with guns anyway!
EcannDallas EcannDallas 9 years
For anyone who has had a loved one go through the process of trying to get a diagnosis this is great. My little brother was misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder for years until we found out that he had a mild form of autism called aspergers.
ElectroPopTart ElectroPopTart 9 years
Um, HELLO you sexy gorgeous doctor with those oh so sexy glasses...please give ME a check up.... Sorry, he's too cute!
Katikins Katikins 9 years
I think this is a potentially wonderful break through. Getting blood tests doesn't necessarily mandate medication. Done right, under the care of a professional (be it psychologist, psychiatrist or other physician)literally thousands of people who are either never diagnosed or mis-diagnosed could get the right treatment if they wanted it and begin to lead lives they are in control of instead of their illness having control over them.
kiddylnd kiddylnd 9 years
In my case, I wish this were available NOW. We went through an extremely horrible year and a half of tests, therapy, and observations before my son was diagnosed. In that time, it was determined that he did in fact inherit it from me. I have very mild symptoms (for now and thank goodness!), and his are now under control. I can see how this would be a bad thing though, for those whom it was mandated they get tested and then medicated. It's a tough call, but overall, if used properly and only as an aid to diagnosis for those seeking treatment it could be a blessing.
aSLAMMINhottie aSLAMMINhottie 9 years
As long as patients' rights are being protected, this is BRILLIANT. Doctors and counselors already offer tests to diagnose mental illness, and all are covered under the doctor/patient confidentiality clause which can only be broken if a patient chooses to waive his or her right to privacy or if the doctor feels that he or she is a danger to others or themselves. Because of the level of constant training needed to administer these tests, they are incredibly expensive (mine was around $600) and often not covered under insurance. While doctors still need to understand how to recognize and treat symptoms of mental illness, this blood test could be a great starting point for patients, particularly if they're on an insurance plan with sub-par behavioral health benefits (as many sadly are). I was misdiagnosed with bi-polar disorder and treated unsuccessfully for 4 years before being re-diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Over the past year I've been treated for borderline with GREAT success and I hope that this test will help others be diagnosed more accurately and earlier in life (I began showing signs of borderline in elementary school; I'm now almost 25). Most mental illness begins to show at puberty or young adulthood, and to be able to prepare a person for this when they are a child would be immensly helpful. I have high hopes for this!
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
marcella marcella 9 years
If this test were used to discriminate against people it could be potentially very dangerous. If scientists and doctors use this test to get the best treatment for individuals with bipolar, then it could be useful, but I am of the mind that not all people with bipolar need to be medicated. If medication were forced on people based on this blood test, we would be in a fascist state.
MandyJoBo MandyJoBo 9 years
Wow. You go, Science.
annebreal annebreal 9 years
Interesting but potetentially really controversial. It also brings to mind eugenics. There's a lot of legal and ethical issues that could crop up because of it, but if it's accurate it could really revolutionize the diagnostic process and cut down on misdiagnosing and overmedicating. Also, just as a head's up, this kinda sounded like a blanket statement. "A patient tells a doctor or psychiatrist their physical and emotional symptoms, and then the doctor uses his or her judgment to make a diagnosis." Psychological screenings and testings should be used by the practictioner (also, psychologists and social workers have the power of mental health diagnosis as well, they just refer out if they think medications may be necessary because they can't prescribe) and mental health diagnoses have to fall under specific criteria in the DSM IV. Obviously it's subjective, and bias and human error come into play, but a good practicioner doesn't go by their judgement and the patients description of symptoms alone; it's more serious than diagnosing a common cold.
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