Wednesday, May 14, 2008

TO READ: Unipolar and Bipolar Depression -- Differences
Many of us, psychiatrists included, tend to assume that a depression is a depression -- whether it's a unipolar one (ie, "major depression") or due to the depressed phase of bipolar disorder. But a recent report says that's not so.

British researchers compared 593 people with major depression and 443 with bipolar disorder, looking at their depression symptoms and the course of their illness. The findings showed several distinctions. Bipolar depressions tended to more often have:

* the presence of psychosis (ie, delusions or hallucinations)

* daily mood variation

* hypersomnia (sleeping too much) during depressive episodes

* more shorter depressive episodes

These are all features you may want to keep an eye on and discuss with your mental health care provider because treatments for the two illnesses do differ.

For more information: The British Journal of Psychiatry (2008) 192:388-389.

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