Depression Bipolar Disorder

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Because mania is the feature of bipolar disorder that separates it from a diagnosis of unipolar or major depression, it is sometimes easy to forget that it is usually only one half of the picture when it comes to bipolar disorder.

Not all people with bipolar disorder experience episodes of major depression, but most experience some symptoms of depressed mood. People with bipolar I frequently have experienced a depressive episode, but it is not required in order to meet the diagnostic criteria set forth by the DMS-IV-TR. Those with bipolar II will have experienced an episode of major depression, and those with cyclothymia experience depressed moods that don't meet the diagnostic criteria for major depression. Depressed mood among bipolar patients doesn’t always occur alone – some people with bipolar disorder have mixed episodes, which are periods of time when they experience symptoms of both mania and depression simultaneously.

Meeting the clinical diagnostic criteria for major depression means experiencing something much more serious than the low mood most people experience from time to time. Major depression results in a number of mental and physical symptoms that last for at least two weeks at a time. These symptoms often include feelings of sadness or hopelessness, loss of interest in formerly pleasurable activities, trouble sleeping, low energy, poor concentration and memory problems, and changes in appetite.

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