How Do Rating Scales for Bipolar Disorder Work?

According to the International Review of Bipolar Disorders, several assessments scales can determine if someone struggles with bipolar disorder and to what degree. The scales discussed below may help you understand your condition and how to treat it, so seek a professional diagnosis to begin recovering from this devastating condition.

Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS)

This scale focuses on depression, so it asks questions that deal with the following issues:

  • Sadness
  • Tension
  • Reduced sleep
  • Reduced appetite
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Lassitude
  • Lack of feelings
  • Pessimism
  • Suicidal thoughts

Each question has four responses rated 0, 2, 4 and 6, and the cumulative scoring reveals the following levels of depression:

  • 0 to 6 – Normal/symptom absent
  • 7 to 19 – Mild depression
  • 20 to 34 – Moderate depression
  • Greater than 34 – Severe depression

You can even use this scale to rate yourself, but seek a medical diagnosis even if you determine that you struggle with depression.

The Bech-Rafaelsen Mania Scale (MAS)

Because bipolar disorder has both depressive and manic episodes, the MAS scale investigates the following manic symptoms:

  • Elevated mood
  • Increased verbal activity
  • Increased social contact
  • Increased motor activity
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Distractibility
  • Hostility, irritable mood
  • Increased sexual activity
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Flighty thoughts
  • Noisy

According to the National Institutes of Health this scale has been used extensively to assess the efficacy of treatment over the last two decades. The MAS measures the sum of the 11 items to assess the severity of manic states.

Quality of Life in Bipolar Disorder Questionnaire

This questionnaire asks 56 questions about the past week’s behaviors and feelings that are related to quality of life. It investigates a patient’s health in the following topics:

  • Physically
  • Sleep
  • Mood
  • Cognition
  • Leisure
  • Socially
  • Spirituality
  • Finance
  • Household
  • Self-esteem
  • Independence
  • Identity

This questionnaire is often used to document changes in patients as they progress through treatment.

The point of all bipolar disorder treatment is to reduce the symptoms associated with both mania and depression, and to reduce the frequency of episodes, so seek help to overcome this issue as soon as possible.