Is there a difference between bipolar disorder and bipolar depression?

The main difference between the two is that depression is unipolar, meaning there is no “period of increase,” but bipolar disorder includes symptoms of mania. To differentiate between the two disorders, it helps to understand the symptoms of each. Bipolar disorder (sometimes called manic depressive) is different. If you have it, you have extreme mood swings.

You experience periods of depression (similar to those of MDD). But you also have periods of great ups and downs. A relatively parsimonious idea is that bipolar disorder can be conceptualized as mania, with or without comorbid depression. At the same time, depression with and without mania could be seen as the same disorder.

Mania and depression could be conceptualized as highly comorbid conditions, as could anxiety and depression. In the literature on anxiety and depression, most people conceptualize non-comorbid and comorbid depressions as parallel, with additional risk factors explaining the presence of comorbid anxiety. A similar model could be applied to depression and mania, with depression conceptualized as the same disorder regardless of the presence of mania during life. Support for the “same model of disorder” would be drawn from the absence of replicable differences in biology, course, symptomatology or psychosocial history of bipolar and unipolar depression.

Signs and symptoms of bipolar I and bipolar II disorders may include other characteristics, such as anxious distress, melancholy, psychosis, or other. Additional search terms including bipolar depression, burden, caregiver burden, costs, economy, prevalence, quality of life and suicide were also searched individually along with “bipolar disorder. Although much research has compared unipolar and bipolar disorders, most of these studies have focused on bipolar disorder as a whole, without differentiating between mania and depression. In summary, neuroticism seems to be associated with increases in depressive symptoms, regardless of whether depression falls within unipolar or bipolar disorder.

A variety of new antipsychotic drugs are approved and available for the treatment of bipolar disorder and may be effective. This is especially important when treating an initial episode of depression, since antidepressant medications can trigger a manic episode in people who have a higher chance of having bipolar disorder. An intriguing question is whether personality traits predict the course of illness in bipolar depression. Because the DSM-IV defines bipolar disorder strictly on the basis of a lifelong episode of mania, these studies measure transmission of mania rather than depression.

At the neurotransmitter level, bipolar and unipolar depressive episodes are characterized by similar levels of dopamine and serotonin. If you have bipolar disorder, you may also have another medical condition that needs to be treated along with bipolar disorder. These findings are consistent with the view that reduced functioning of 5-HT, which appears to be critically involved in unipolar depression, is also involved in bipolar depression. Research also suggests that an imbalance or malfunction in two brain chemicals called serotonin and norepinephrine is common in people with bipolar disorder.

Because patients with bipolar depression often don't know or remember their manic symptoms, they may underestimate them or incorrectly report them to the doctor; therefore, having caregivers or family members respond to the same screening tool as the patient can be very informative regarding the history clinic. of mania or hypomania. G-protein function is most commonly studied in lymphocytes and platelets in people with bipolar disorder. That is, both unipolar and bipolar depression seem parallel in their links with decreased activity of the prefrontal cortex, as well as changes in amygdala activity.


LaToya Weitze
LaToya Weitze

Amateur internet scholar. Incurable internet evangelist. Extreme travel geek. Infuriatingly humble beer evangelist. Bacon evangelist.

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