What Do ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia and Bad Relationships Have in Common?

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There’s definitely a connection — but it’s not what you might be thinking. You’ll have to try out the latest additions to our psychological quizzes to be sure.

Four new screening tests that have been in the works for awhile now are finally out of the research phase and ready for the light of day. They’re now available over in our section of psychological tests and quizzes. Yep, that’s the connection: the four new tests cover ADHD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and warning signs for bad relationships.

ADHD Test: Structured Adult ADHD Self-Test (SAAST)
This 22-question self-test has been developed as a screening test for adult ADD/ADHD. Structured so as to differentiate between two distinct components of ADHD diagnosis (namely, inattention together with hyperactivity-impulsivity), this ADHD test is also sensitive to factors which typically preclude a diagnosis of ADHD. The quiz may help you identify aspects of your experience which are typically associated with ADHD
Bipolar Test: Tri-Axial Bipolar Spectrum Screening Quiz (TABS)
This 19-question bipolar spectrum self-test has been designed specifically to highlight all three components which potentially figure in the diagnosis of bipolar spectrum disorders, including depressive episodes and manic episodes (and mixed episodes), plus an additional set of factors which may preclude a diagnosis of bipolar disorder even when symptoms otherwise associated with bipolar are present.
Schizophrenia Test and Early Psychosis Indicator (STEPI)
The Schizophrenia Test and Early Psychosis Indicator (STEPI) is designed as a simple screening quiz to help identify symptoms of the schizophrenia prodrome before an individual becomes fully psychotic. Unlike other schizophrenia screening tests on the internet, the STEPI takes account of both positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia while also testing for mitigating factors which can preclude a diagnosis of schizophrenia altogether.
Relationship Quiz: True Love or True Loser?
The 20-question “True Love or True Loser?” relationship quiz is inspired by Dr Joseph Carver’s famous article “Are You Dating a Loser?” and has been co-authored by Dr Carver. This quiz is not intended in any way as a third-party diagnostic tool for you to make a second-party diagnosis of personality disorder or other mental disorder in your partner. Rather, it is intended to help you become aware of aspects of your relationship experiences which Dr Carver has associated with hurtful relationships and potentially, at particularly high levels, with the types of abuse sometimes linked to personality disorders.

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Notice a trend here? Yes, with the exception of the last one — where we’re not directly linking anything to diagnostic criteria — these screening tests are unusual in that they refrain from making assumptions that otherwise bias such tests in favour of false positives. What do I mean by that? Almost all screening quizzes which you’ll find on the internet right now that cover the types of distress addressed by the first three quizzes above assume that you do not have the types of mitigating factors that preclude a diagnosis.

Any time you see a test which just gives you a total score and says, in effect, “the higher the score, the more likely you are to have Disorder X, end of story,” you can rest assured that the quiz sometimes gets it wrong — badly wrong, systematically wrong, irresponsibly wrong. Why? Because invariably, the diagnosis of psychiatric disorders includes one or more factors which mean the diagnosis is inappropriate, even if you are experiencing large numbers of symptoms commonly associated with the disorder.

For example, maybe you believe that you have supernatural powers, aliens sometimes send messages to you in your sleep, and you can hear voices of people who are not there — all the types of reports commonly associated with schizophrenia. Well, you might really believe those things strongly, but if they are not causing significant problems in your work, relationships or social activities, or your ability to look after yourself, then you do not have schizophrenia.

(My colleague Gordon Shippey touched on this very point about diagnostic labels in his article “Psychological Labels: Read Carefully Before Applying”.)

Of course,” says a clinician, “but I would pick up on that immediately in the course of taking a clinical history”. Well yeah, no kidding — but internet-based screening tests don’t include a qualified clinician popping up from the background to ask helpful questions at just the right times.

It’s even worse than this in the case of many online screening tests for common (or uncommon) forms of psychological distress, because most such tests which address ADHD, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia completely fail to take account of the fact that diagnosing any of these disorders requires the presence not just of a threshold number of symptoms, but of threshold numbers of different types of symptoms. ADHD requires both inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity, bipolar disorder requires both manic and depressive symptoms, and schizophrenia requires both positive and negative symptoms. Yet the most common screening tests you’ll find online don’t actually check!

So here you go. You can’t diagnose anything with a screening test — and obviously none of these aims at diagnosis — but for anyone who gives these a whirl, you might at least get a result which is less obviously wrong than most!

And of course, if you do choose to take any of these for a spin, please be sure to read all our relevant caveats, including our disclaimer on psychological testing and of course our privacy guarantee. (Unlike most sites which provide these types of quizzes and then record user data behind the scenes — and almost invariably, without telling you — we make sure that responses are processed only locally, on your own machine, using JavaScript that executes in your own browser and nowhere else.)

All clinical material on this site is peer reviewed by one or more clinical psychologists or other qualified mental health professionals. This specific article was originally published by on and was last reviewed or updated by Dr Greg Mulhauser, Managing Editor on .

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