The Dangers of Online Mental Health Quizzes

Alright so this is a big topic for me. A fellow author posted a link to a ridiculous quiz on Facebook that I feel the need to (and was asked to) write about.

I am going to take this quiz, step by step, and report exactly what I think about it. And after I will tell you why these quizzes aren’t just silly or stupid, but dangerous (with my anecdote evidence- reliable I know).

Alright, so when you click on the quiz, it starts off by saying, “Are you prone to dramatic and unpredictable mood-swings? What about anxiety and frustration? What’s your level of uniqueness? Find that all out right here.” Right off the bat I am annoyed. This perpetuates the stereotype that bipolar is sudden changes in mood. Going from happy to sad and back in a second. Unless you have extremely rapid-cycling bipolar, this is very unlikely. Bipolar is experienced in episodes. Generally meaning they have to last at least a few days. Although I do have little spikes of bipolar feelings, they aren’t full episodes and are mostly just annoying.

And for anxiety and frustration, yeah those can happen. I have anxiety that is sometimes correlated with my bipolar. But bipolar itself doesn’t specify that you need to have anxiety. Additionally, “frustration?” Really? Who doesn’t experience that? And lastly- “What’s your level of uniqueness?” That makes me want to hit my face on my keyboard. Being bipolar is unique in a sense, because a small amount of the population experiences it. But in this context it is taken in a positive way. In the United States we have a culture where individualism and self-expression is very important. If you’re unique, then it’s usually considered a good thing. But as far as I’m concerned, bipolar is not a good thing.

And then, of course, it adds that this should be used as a diagnostic test. And I’ll explain later why that really doesn’t matter.
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