Bipolar or Adrenal Fatigue – Part 2 – Diagnostics #adrenal #adrenalfatigue #bipolar

Bipolar or Adrenal Fatigue – Part 2 – Diagnostics

We can come to believe we have bipolar disorder by going down a check-list and finding we match just about all the symptoms.

Adrenal Fatigue has similar check-lists such as Dr Wilson’s Adrenal Fatigue questionnaire:

If you are living a busy stressful life and unable to relax you will most likely get a high score on both bipolar and adrenal fatigue check-lists.

My scores indicated severe Adrenal Fatigue, which makes sense considering what I been through and my lifestyle. However, are quizzes like these truly diagnostic? They do not tell us much about the causes. Our responses are based on our own feelings and not precise measurements.

With bipolar this is all we have. It is not possible to scientifically diagnose anyone with bipolar as there are no blood tests, brain scans or anything like that for bipolar. There cannot be as bipolar is simply a word used for anyone who has extreme struggles with their moods, regardless of why they are struggling.

Adrenal Fatigue differs from bipolar: Accurate laboratory based tests for adrenal function/dysfunction have been available for decades.

  •  Adrenal Fatigue Saliva Test: The adrenal glands produce hormones including cortisol and DHEA. These small molecules travel to all parts of your body including the saliva glands. The test involves spitting in a sample tube for laboratory for analysis. This is better than blood tests as it is less stressful and allows for several samples in one day. It is how the cortisol and DHEA vary during the day that allows the precise measure of your adrenal function. One day of testing will confirm your level of adrenal fatigue. Results are provided as a graph, showing changes throughout the day.

My adrenal function test results from April 2013 – click image to see it enlarged:


Adrenal function test results

Cortisol is naturally high in the morning and decreases towards bedtime. If it does not start high enough or drops too rapidly you have most likely got a problem.

DHEA is so central to hormone production that a good level of this is needed at all times. Low results indicate lifestyle changes (perhaps better diet and more rest) are needed.

This test may be better described as a test for Adrenal Dysfunction as the test tells us about how our adrenal glands are performing rather than being directly related to how fatigued you are feeling. Adrenal dysfunction means your energy levels stop matching what you need and when you need it. Dysfunction eventually leads to fatigue.

What does all this mean?

  1. Nobody, not even you can prove you have a disorder called bipolar.
  2. Doctors can measure and say for certain how your adrenal glands are performing and if under-performance is affecting your mood.

If you have been diagnosed/labelled with bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, M.E. or similar then ask your doctor about having your adrenal glands tested through saliva testing. If your doctor says, “No” then consider paying for this test. I think it cost me about £80. If you want me to look up exactly what I paid and where I had the test done, then contact me through the comments option on this blog or through

About Roger Smith (in the UK)
Helping you to think about bipolar disorder in different ways so that we can eliminate the disorder and eventually eliminate the need for this diagnosis.

3 Responses to Bipolar or Adrenal Fatigue – Part 2 – Diagnostics #adrenal #adrenalfatigue #bipolar

  1. Margaret Taylor says:

    Great post Roger. I especially appreciate point “1.Nobody, not even you can prove you have a disorder called bipolar.” That’s line I’m going to remember. My problem definitely started with my sleep cycle as a result of pain from having my gall bladder removed.Cortisol certainly played a role too.


  2. Ruth says:

    Hi Roger

    Really interested to see your graph with results of adrenal fatigue.


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