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Treatment-Resistant Depression Not Likely to Be Bipolar Disorder


A recent article throws a critical light on the current school of thought that depressed people who have resistance to antidepressants are likely to have bipolar disorder. The report outlines the results from a study of individuals seeking treatment for depression.

Major depression is a mental health condition in which the person experiences sadness, loss of interest, lack of energy and changes in sleep patterns. Bipolar disorder, on the other hand, is a mental health condition in which the individual experiences a wide mood continuum, ranging from depression to mania, characterized by lack of sleep, high energy, feelings of invulnerability, impulsiveness and rapid speech. Physicians who meet a new patient in the throes of depressive symptoms are concerned with whether he or she truly has major depression or is a victim of bipolar disorder experiencing a depressive episode. This is important because bipolar patients may experience worsening mental health when exposed to the antidepressants typically prescribed to those with major depression.

All of this has led doctors to quickly consider bipolar disorder when treating a depressed patient who is not responding to antidepressant medication. The results of this recent study, however, cast doubt on the practice of assuming a high likelihood of bipolar disorder in these patients. Instead, a patient's history should be closely evaluated before a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and pharmacological treatment is begun.

Those with symptoms of depression should seek treatment from a mental health professional. Be prepared to discuss any behavioral or thought disturbances you have experienced in past years so that a proper diagnosis can be made.

Read more: http://www.medpagetoday.com/Psychiatry/Depression/23770

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