Although depressive episodes occur in both bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder, the cardinal feature of bipolar disorder is a history of mania or hypomania. Depressive episodes are also most often the presenting complaint in both illnesses. Thus, the challenge is distinguishing bipolar illness from unipolar depression. Walter Dunn, MD, PhD, explores this psychiatric topic and reflects on accurately diagnosing bipolar disorder.
Major depressive disorder presents identically to bipolar disorder in patients who are in the midst of a major depressive episode. Once a solid bipolar I or II disorder diagnosis is established, it sets the healthcare professional on course to make some pivotal treatment decisions regarding psychopharmacologic approaches. This ClinicalThought focuses on treating the predominant depressive states with which patients with bipolar disorder present.
Significant weight gain and metabolic differences exist among FDA-approved medications for bipolar depression. Manish Jha, MD, reviews agents used in the treatment of bipolar depression.