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Is there a blood test for bipolar disorder?

Ms. Julie A. Fast
Mental Health Specialist

Unfortunately, there is no blood test to tell you if you have bipolar disorder. (I wish!)

Instead, blood tests are used to measure drug levels as well as basic bodily needs. Here is a list of specific and voluntary tests needed.

  1. It’s essential to get a thyroid test when you are first diagnosed or suspect a diagnosis. Many people with bipolar disorder also have thyroid problems.
  2. If you have bipolar disorder and are on medications, you will need specific tests to measure the medication level in your blood. For example, lithium has a very specific measurement that must be present for a person to get maximum benefit from the drug. There is leeway with the number, but not much.  I take lithium and it works pretty well for my bipolar depression. If I start to get really depressed, I always go in for a lithium level check as there is a chance it will be low.
  3. Other drugs such as Depakote and Tegretol- drugs that are used to manage mania- also need a blood level test.  There is a Lamictal (lamotrigine) level test, but I am not sure of its efficacy. It’s worth a try. Blood tests are often used to check liver and kidney functioning.
  4. Your vitamin D level is important in terms of depression.
  5. I always suggest a person, male or female get a testosterone level test, especially if sexual desire is low.

There may be other blood tests suggested by your health care professional. A naturopath or psychiatric nurse practitioner are good choices here! The really great news is that most of these tests can be done on one health care visit.
It’s important to know that many drugs have these testing requirements. Not just psych drugs.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.