Bipolar disorder and depression share many of the same symptoms. Depressive symptoms are commonly found in bipolar disorder and manic depression, but these diseases are more complex than major depression.
How are Bipolar Disorder and Depression Connected?
Bipolar disorder can sometimes be caused by the introduction of antidepressants into a patient’s prescription. Maladjusted serotonin or norepinephrine levels can leave a patient feeling inordinately happy, kicking off a cycle of manic depression. A predisposition to mental illnesses like anxiety or major depressive disorder makes patients more likely to develop a bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder and depression share many of the same symptoms, such as irritability, a change in appetite, thoughts of death or suicide, loss of interest in pleasurable activities and empty feelings. However, in bipolar disorder these symptoms intensify, and often take on a radically different hue.
How is Bipolar Disorder Different from Depression?
Manic episodes experienced by people suffering from bipolar disorder can cause long periods of abnormally high energy. These manic periods of unusually high energy are often followed by the irritability and helpless emotions of depressive episodes. This causes dangerous mood swings, increasing the risk of suicide or nervous breakdown in persons with bipolar disorder.
The behavioral differences between bipolar disorder and depression are also identifiable. In bipolar disorder, patients under the influence of a manic episode commonly take on many more new responsibilities, participate in high-risk behaviors and have racing thoughts. These symptoms are followed by depressive episodes that bring the patient down to the extreme lows of depression when the episode switches.
Are Treatments for Bipolar Disorder and Depression Similar?
Treatments for bipolar disorder and depression are often radically different. In depression, psychiatrists often attempt to treat the disorder with techniques such as talk therapy and setting up strong social support systems. Psychiatrists will only prescribe medications if these techniques are ineffective.
By comparison, bipolar disorder almost always necessitates medication to regulate brain chemistry before beginning therapy. The manic episode symptoms make it nearly impossible for a patient to control emotions and stay focused.
Antidepressants may be prescribed for both bipolar disorder and depression. In the case of bipolar disorder, these drugs are normally prescribed alongside anti-psychotics and mood stabilizers.
If you are considering antidepressants, treating depression with medication can be helpful.