Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Bipolar Disorder Health Center

Font Size

At-Home Bipolar Disorder Test: Help or Hindrance?

Advocates say it helps doctors make an accurate diagnosis, but critics say more research is needed.
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

An at-home bipolar test, launched in February 2008 and sold over the Internet, is meant to be used with a doctor's evaluation to make a correct diagnosis of bipolar disorder more quickly.

"Sales continue to be brisk," says Kurt May, CEO and founder of Psynomics Inc., the San Diego-based company producing the $399 at-home test for bipolar disorder, the latest in an array of tests marketed to consumers who want to know their risk for various diseases.

Recommended Related to Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder and Foods to Avoid

If you or a loved has bipolar disorder, you know how important it is to manage mood episodes with bipolar medications and healthy lifestyle habits. But did you also know that certain foods and dietary supplements might play a role in helping -- or hindering -- people with bipolar disorder?

Read the Bipolar Disorder and Foods to Avoid article > >

But some mental health experts are skeptical about the test, saying that while its premise shows promise, more research about the genetic links to bipolar disorder is needed to back up the credibility of such tests.

On one point proponents and critics alike agree: The bipolar test doesn't tell users if they do or don't have the mental illness. Rather, it reveals whether their genetic makeup may put them at higher risk of having it -- or getting it.

(Do you think such a test would be helpful in diagnosing bipolar disorder? Discuss it with others on WebMD's Bipolar Disorders: Support Group board.)

The Bipolar Test: How It Works

The bipolar test, called Psynome, looks for two mutations in a gene, GRK3, associated with bipolar disorder. The test is based on the long-term work of John Kelsoe, MD, a board-certified psychiatrist and professor of psychiatry at the University of California San Diego, who is co-founder of the company and serves as executive vice president.

People who have either of the two gene mutations, are white, are of Northern European ancestry, and have a family history of bipolar disorder are three times more likely to have bipolar disorder themselves, according to the company web site. Research has not shown such an association for other ethnic groups, according to Psynomics.

"This test is different than others that are truly home tests," says Martin Schalling, MD, PhD, a professor of medical genetics at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, and a member of the scientific advisory board for Psynomics. "The results go to the treating physician."

Purchasers are mailed a "spit kit" and are instructed to deposit saliva into the kit's resealable container, then mail the saliva sample back to Psynomics.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Today on WebMD

lunar eclipse
Signs of mania and depression.
Pills on blank prescription paper
Learn about this popular bipolar disorder medication.
serious looking young woman
Assess your symptoms.
teen girl in bad mood
How is each one different?
Feeling Ups and Downs
Bipolar or Schizo
Foods to Avoid
Man being scolded by his shadow
lunar eclipse
depressed man
young women not speaking
man talking with therapist