A 22-year-old member asked:
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how do you tell unipolar depression and bipolar disorder apart?

6 doctor answers
Dr. Carla Enriquez
50 years experience Pediatrics
By symptom: Bipolar depression (bpd) cycles with mania (aggressiveness, grandiosity, insomnia, hypersexulaity, impulsivity) & is very frequently comorbid with anxiety. Unipolar depression is another name for medical depressive disorder (mdd). Bipolar-ii is like bpd, but it cycles from really depressed to less severely depressed, has no mania or hypomania, & is also called treatment resistant depression.
Answered on Sep 28, 2016
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Dr. William Holmes
34 years experience Child Psychiatry
Mood Swings: By definition bipolar disorder requires the presence of either cycles of alternating mood or severe and debilitating mood swings. In unipolar depression the concern only has to do with depression.
Answered on May 7, 2016
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Dr. Bassam Amawi
49 years experience Psychiatry
Some physician: Can have difficulty in making the diagnoses , therefore during my I have experienced numerous patients they were placed on multiple antidepressant , three benzodiazepine and Ritalin (methylphenidate) , and when i saw them i gave them bipolar affective d/o diagnoses, and when they were placed on mood stabilizer they became better.
Answered on Oct 4, 2016
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1 thank
Dr. Bassam Amawi
49 years experience Psychiatry
Use MDQ: By using this method u will be unlikely to misdiagnose bipolar affective d/o.
Answered on May 6, 2016
Dr. Alan Ali
Dr. Alan Ali answered
32 years experience Psychiatry
Bipolar: If in depressed phase, history of mania/hypomania points toward bipolar. Also prior response to meds.
Answered on Sep 28, 2016
Dr. Jeffrey Satinover
39 years experience Psychiatry
Can be subtle...: Doctors have correctly explained that bipolar has two poles--depression and mania (or hypomania), unipolar one. The subtlety is that the poles don't necessarily alternate. One may have 1, 2, ...Episodes of depression that look unipolar. Then a manic episode appears and looking back, those "uniplolar" episodes were really bipolar depressions. These require different treatment than unipolar.
Answered on Oct 4, 2016
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