The Mood Disorder Questionnaire is a quick screening tool that can help people assess their risk of bipolar disorder

Instructions: Please answer each question to the best of your ability

1. Has there ever been a period of time when you were not your usual self and...

  • felt so good or so hyper that other people thought you were not your normal self or you were so hyper that you got into trouble?

  • were so irritable that you shouted at people or started fights or arguments?

  • felt much more self-confident than usual?

  • got much less sleep than usual and found you didn’t really miss it?

  • were much more talkative or spoke much faster than usual?

  • ...thoughts raced through your head or you couldn’t slow your mind down?

  • were so easily distracted by things around you that you had trouble concentrating or staying on track?

  • were much more active or did many more things than usual?

  • were much more social or outgoing than usual, for example, you telephoned friends in the middle of the night?

  • were much more interested in sex than usual?

  • did things that were unusual for you or that other people might have thought were excessive, foolish, or risky?

  • ...spending money got you or your family into trouble?

2. If you checked YES to more than one of the above, have several of these ever happened during the same period of time?

3. How much of a problem did any of these cause you – like being unable to work; having family, money or legal troubles; getting into arguments or fights? Please circle one response only.

4. Have any of your blood relatives (i.e. children, siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles) had manic-depressive illness or bipolar disorder?

5. Has a health professional ever told you that you have manic-depressive illness or bipolar disorder?


The MDQ was developed by a team of psychiatrists, researchers and consumer advocates to address a critical need for timely and accurate diagnosis of bipolar disorder, which can be fatal if left untreated. The questionnaire takes about five minutes to complete, and can provide important insights into diagnosis and treatment. Clinical trials have indicated that the MDQ has a high rate of accuracy; it is able to identify seven out of ten people who have bipolar disorder and screen out nine out of ten people who do not.

A recent National DMDA survey revealed that nearly 70% of people with bipolar disorder had received at least one misdiagnosis and many had waited more than 10 years from the onset of their symptoms before receiving a correct diagnosis. National DMDA hopes that the MDQ will shorten this delay and help more people to get the treatment they need, when they need it.

The MDQ screens for Bipolar Spectrum Disorder, (which includes Bipolar I, Bipolar II and Bipolar NOS).

If the patient answers:

1. “Yes” to seven or more of the 13 items in question number 1;


2. “Yes” to question number 2;


3. “Moderate” or “Serious” to question number 3;

You have a positive screen. All three of the criteria above should be met. A positive screen should be followed by a comprehensive medical evaluation for Bipolar Spectrum Disorder.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: This instrument was developed by a committee composed of the following individuals: Chairman, Robert M.A. Hirschfeld, MD – University of Texas Medical Branch; Joseph R. Calabrese, MD – Case Western Reserve School of Medicine; Laurie Flynn – National Alliance for the Mentally Ill; Paul E. Keck, Jr., MD – University of Cincinnati College of Medicine; Lydia Lewis – National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association; Robert M. Post, MD – National Institute of Mental Health; Gary S. Sachs, MD – Harvard University School of Medicine; Robert L. Spitzer, MD – Columbia University; Janet Williams, DSW – Columbia University and John M. Zajecka, MD – Rush Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center.