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Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ)

Bipolar disorder affects almost 1 in 20 people during their lifetimes, and over 80% of cases are considered serious—a higher percentage than any other mood disorder. Despite its seriousness, bipolar disorder is often misdiagnosed as depression, especially on first presentation. Use the digital MDQ alongside cognitive tasks or other questionnaires in Creyos Health to assess for bipolar disorder.

How to Take the MDQ Questionnaire

It is easy to administer the MDQ using Creyos Health. It can be administered on its own, or alongside a protocol containing other questionnaires and/or cognitive assessments.

The MDQ is self-administered, and can be completed in about 5 minutes. It contains 13 yes/no items assessing a history of manic or hypomanic symptoms and behaviors, such as “thoughts raced through your head or you couldn’t slow your mind down.” Two additional questions about symptom co-occurrence (more than one symptom at the same time) and impaired functioning (symptoms causing real-world problems) are also included to measure the severity of the symptoms.

A total score is calculated based on the 13 main items.


History of the MDQ Questionnaire

Bipolar disorder is actually a spectrum of disorders characterized by cycling between two or more mood states, such as mania, hypomania, and depression. Because depression is a common symptom, bipolar is often misdiagnosed, despite requiring a different treatment path.

Because of this need for earlier and more frequent identification of potential cases, Robert M. A. Hirschfeld and colleagues created the MDQ in 2000 based on the criteria for bipolar disorder identified in the fourth version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV).

In its original validation study (Hirschfeld et al., 2000), a cutoff score of 7 provided good sensitivity and specificity for independent diagnosis of bipolar spectrum disorder (including bipolar I, bipolar II, and bipolar disorder not otherwise specified). Subsequent research has confirmed the accuracy of using the MDQ to screen for bipolar disorder (Wang et al., 2019).

MDQ Report

The Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ) in the real world

Patients with bipolar spectrum disorder can feel let down by the healthcare system. They often wait 10 years or more between a major mood episode and a diagnosis, and many patients are misdiagnosed at least once during that time. Delays and inappropriate treatments can lead to worsening of a patient’s condition, and may even put their life in jeopardy (Drancourt et al., 2013).

Systematic, early screening from a variety of healthcare providers can help meet the needs of patients with bipolar. Any clinician working in the mental health space should have a mood disorder screener like the MDQ available. Depression is particularly likely to be confused with bipolar disorder (Rybakowski et al., 2011), so more screening in patients being treated for major depressive disorder can help avoid the dangerous consequences of inappropriate treatments.

The MDQ can be used alongside instruments like the PHQ-9 to get a more complete picture of a patient’s mental health, and the digital versions of these questionnaires available in Creyos Health ensure that screening tools can be administered without additional burden on a clinician’s limited time.

Speak to us about using the MDQ in your practice or study