The Mood Disorder Assessment Schedule: Initial validation of a new measure for early identification of bipolar spectrum disorders in inpatient adolescents

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Due to the significant impairment associated with subthreshold bipolar symptomatology and the harmful effects of delayed diagnosis, there is a great need for diagnostic tools that can facilitate early identification of bipolar spectrum disorders. The Mood Disorder Assessment Schedule (MDAS) is a newly developed measure that focuses on autonomous changes in mood and energy, a key indicator of bipolar spectrum problems which is not included in current diagnostic tools for bipolar disorders. The current study tested the ability of the MDAS to identify individuals at risk for bipolar spectrum disorders. In a cross-sectional sample of 396 inpatient adolescents, the MDAS identified a group of individuals with several bipolar spectrum disorder (BSD) indicators, including greater manic and depressive symptoms, affective lability, suicidal behavior, adverse reactions to antidepressants, and a family history of bipolar disorder and suicidal behavior. When compared to a standard diagnostic interview for bipolar disorders (i.e., Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia [KSADS]), the MDAS yielded stronger clinical utility in its ability to identify individuals with BSD indicators. Therefore, the MDAS appears to be a promising diagnostic tool for identifying adolescents at risk for BSDs and may help facilitate earlier diagnosis and prevent harmful effects of improper treatment.

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Journal of psychiatric research

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