Can Mental Health Issues Be Diagnosed with A Blood Test? Find out here!


Medically reviewed by

Bajaj Finserv Health

Mental Wellness

4 min read

Key Takeaways

  • A blood test could help diagnose depression and bipolar disorder
  • Further research is going on to ascertain this claim by Dr Niculescu and team
  • As per the study, sets of RNA markers help to identify psychological disorders

A mental health screening [1] helps in analyzing a person’s mental state. In most cases, a basic conversation with a therapist or counsellor can help in detecting your mental condition. However, in certain cases the diagnosis may be inconclusive. There may also be certain symptoms that have not yet developed. This is where researchers are trying to check if blood work can give them concrete evidence and direction. To know more, read on. 

Can blood tests detect mental health conditions?

Recently, psychiatrist and geneticist Dr Alexander Niculescu and his team from the Indiana University School of Medicine revealed blood test reports that indicate certain mental conditions [2]. This is breakthrough research and if proven right, this is going to be psychiatry’s first-ever biological answer to diagnosing a psychological disorder.

The most difficult and confusing part about mental health screening is that the symptoms are overlapping for most ailments. This leads to series of trial and error with medication and side effects adding to problems in some cases. If blood tests can give conclusive results, such long list of tests and trials can be completely avoided. Researchers believe that now common mental health disorders can be easily identified using blood tests.

Mental Health Blood TestAdditional read: 7 Simple Ways to Reduce Stress and Keep Your Blood Pressure in Control

What is the method used to detect mental health conditions with blood tests?

Dr Niculescu and his team were conducting this research for 15 years and through their earlier research on how psychiatry relates to blood gene expression biomarkers, they were able to withdraw measurable biological indicators. They found the way to study the body’s biological state owing to mental ailments through its representation on the RNA, DNA, proteins and other molecules of the human body. 

Basically, the team has revealed that every system of your body, be it the brain, the nervous system, digestive system or the immune system, alters considerably when you are facing mental ailments. Scanning bodily functions right up to the cellular level helps in mapping the diseases at play. To put it simply, RNA markers are derived through blood tests. As they may tell the story of individual mental health problems, similar RNA markers are grouped. Thus, the researchers claimed to have easily spotted mental health issues like bipolar disorder and depression. 

Keeping Dr Niculescu and his team’s undying efforts as the backdrop, the next level of research is being carried out by the prestigious CLIA in the USA. This is where the findings are being put to test and after some rounds of clinical testing, we will know how much merit blood tests can get for the quick detection of mental ailments.

Additional read: 7 Effective Ways to Manage Anxiety and Depression

Blood test for Depression

Tests already available to diagnose mental health

Major mental health conditions are also linked to physical problems. For instance, here are a few routine blood tests doctors recommend to diagnose depression.

  • Cholesterol level
  • Liver functions
  • Blood sugar level

In most cases, depression crops from underlying physical ailments and simple medication for these disorders can improve the symptoms. 

Just like depression, any mental health condition’s diagnosis starts from understanding and analyzing the patient’s physical state. Getting to know bodily functions is one of the basic steps in this direction. 

Apart from lab tests, doctors spend a lot of time with the individuals who are affected to get to know them better. This helps them understand the mental state of patients and build a history of their mental conditions with more detail. Conversation is a vital aspect of mental health treatment as it helps with building the route map for the diagnosis. 

Apart from standard test reports, the following parameters help doctors assess a clear picture of your mental health.

  • Mood
  • Lifestyle
  • Eating habits
  • sleeping patterns
  • Stress level 

Mental health is a part of your overall health. So, regular screening and tests to access the mental health of your loved ones and yourself is important. If you are looking to visit a specialist to discuss your mental health concerns, you can do that stress-free with Bajaj Finserv Health. Here you can book an online appointment for an in-clinic consultation to discuss your symptoms while maintaining absolute privacy. Make sure you keep abreast of the latest research on this subject by checking back here and boost your mental health for the better. 

Published on 8 Dec 2021Last updated on 20 Mar 2023

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.


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