Effective screening can help clinicians better coordinate a patient’s mental and physical care and may lead to earlier connection to a mental health professional.1

Screening Guide for Mood Disorders
This booklet provides a brief overview of the 4 screening tools shown below that can help you assess patients for common mood disorders.3 A screener for symptoms of anxiety is also included because it may be a risk factor for depression and commonly occurs with bipolar depression.4 Information on the scoring and interpretation of results is also provided.

Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9)
A standardized tool such as the PHQ-9 is often used to screen patients for depressive symptoms in primary care settings. The PHQ-9 is a multipurpose instrument used for screening, measuring, and monitoring the severity of depression.5

Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ)
The depressive symptoms of major depressive disorder and bipolar depression are the same.6 The self-reported MDQ may be a way to improve the efficiency in detecting bipolar disorder.7

Compositive International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) 3.0
The clinician-administered CIDI 3.0 may also improve the efficiency in detecting bipolar disorder.8

General Anxiety Disorder 7 (GAD-7)
Anxiety disorder may be routinely assessed alongside mood symptoms in patients with bipolar disorder.9 The GAD-7 is a self-rated questionnaire used to screen for general anxiety disorder and assess symptom severity.10

An important note: This toolkit does not include a comprehensive set of all available screeners. Screeners and questionnaires are not for diagnostic use, nor are they a replacement for your professional medical advice and judgment. For measures that are self-reported by the patient, clinicians should verify responses as part of the clinical interview.

  1. Jin H, Wu S. Use of patient-reported data to match depression screening intervals with depression risk profiles in primary care patients with diabetes: development and validation of prediction models for major depression. JMIR Form Res. 2019;3(4):e13610.
  2. Siu AL, the US Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for depression in adults: US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. JAMA. 2016;315:380–387.
  3. Mood disorders. MentalHealth.gov website. www.mentalhealth.gov/what-to-look-for/mood-disorders. Accessed May 30, 2021.
  4. Baldessarini RJ, Vazquez GH, Tondo L. Bipolar depression: a major unsolved challenge. Int J Bipolar Disord. 2020;8(1):1-13.
  5. Kroenke K, Spitzer RL. The PHQ-9: a new depression diagnostic and severity measure. Psychiatr Ann.2002;32:509–521.
  6. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-5. 5th ed. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association;2013:124–125,160–161.
  7. American Psychiatric Association. Practice guideline for the treatment of patients with bipolar disorder (revision). Am J Psychiatry. 2002;159(4 suppl):1–50.
  8. Kessler RC, Akiskal HS, Angst J, et al. Validity of the assessment of bipolar spectrum disorders in the WHO CIDI 3.0. J Affect Disord. 2006;96:259–269.
  9. Goodwin GM, Haddad PM, Ferrier IN, et al. Evidence-based guidelines for treating bipolar disorder: revised third edition recommendations from the British Association for Psychopharmacology. J Psychopharmacol. 2016;30:495–553.
  10. Spitzer RL, Kroenke K, Williams JBW, Löwe B. A brief measure for assessing generalized anxiety disorder: the GAD-7. Arch Intern Med. 2006;166:1092–1097.