It’s a common question: “Am I bipolar or depressed?” If you’re feeling down or out of sorts, it’s important to understand the difference between the two. While both can be treated, they require different approaches.
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Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness that is characterized by extreme mood swings. People with bipolar disorder can have periods of feeling very high or very low. These periods are called “mood episodes.”
Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that causes drastic changes in mood, energy levels, and ability to function. People with bipolar disorder can have episodes of depression, where they feel very low and hopeless, as well as episodes of mania, where they feel unusually high and full of energy.
Symptoms of bipolar disorder can vary from mild to severe, and can sometimes be hard to distinguish from symptoms of other mental illnesses. It’s important to seek help from a mental health professional if you’re experiencing any symptoms that are affecting your ability to function in your everyday life.
Some common symptoms of bipolar disorder include:
Changes in mood: People with bipolar disorder can have episodes of depression, where they feel very low and hopeless, as well as episodes of mania, where they feel unusually high and full of energy.
Changes in energy levels: People with bipolar disorder may have sudden bursts of energy during a manic episode, followed by periods of feeling very tired during a depressive episode.
Changes in sleep patterns: During a manic episode, people with bipolar disorder may not need as much sleep and may feel full of energy even after a long day. During a depressive episode, they may need more sleep than usual and may find it hard to get out of bed in the morning.
Changes in appetite: During a manic episode, people with bipolar disorder may lose their appetite or have an increased appetite. During a depressive episode, they may have a decreased appetite or comfort eat to make themselves feel better.
Changes in concentration and focus: People with bipolar disorder may have difficulty concentrating or focusing during an episode of mania or depression. They may also have racing thoughts during a manic episode.
Causes of Bipolar Disorder
The cause of bipolar disorder is not currently known. A combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors may play a role in causing bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder often runs in families, which suggests that a person’s genes may play a role in causing the condition. Children with a parent or sibling with bipolar disorder are 4 to 6 times more likely to develop the condition than children who do not have a family history of the disorder. However, most people with close relatives who have bipolar disorder will not develop the condition.
It is not clear what role psychological factors play in causing bipolar disorder. Some research suggests that stressful life events may trigger episodes of mania or depression in people who are vulnerable to the condition.
Treatment for Bipolar Disorder
Mood stabilization is the main goal of treatment for bipolar disorder, whether you have bipolar I or II. The specific medication you take depends on which type of bipolar disorder you have and how severe your symptoms are.
Anti-seizure medications, atypical antipsychotics, and lithium are the most common mood stabilizers used to treat bipolar disorder. Valproate (Depakote), carbamazepine (Tegretol), lamotrigine (Lamictal), olanzapine (Zyprexa), quetiapine (Seroquel), risperidone (Risperdal), aripiprazole (Abilify), ziprasidone (Geodon), asenapine (Saphris), lurasidone (Latuda) clozapine (Clozaril) and brexpiprazole (Rexulti) are all atypical antipsychotics approved by the FDA for treatment of bipolar disorder.
Your doctor will start with the mood stabilizer that is most likely to work effectively with the fewest side effects based on your particular situation. If one medication doesn’t work or if you can’t tolerate the side effects your doctor may prescribe another mood stabilizer. It may take some trial and error before you find the best medication or combination of medications for you.
Depression is a mental health condition that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It affects how you think, feel, and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn’t worth living.
Symptoms of Depression
Although bipolar disorder and depression share some similarities, they are two different mental health conditions. It’s important to know the difference so you can get the proper treatment.
Both bipolar disorder and depression can cause mood swings, but the swings in bipolar disorder are much more extreme. With bipolar disorder, you may feel extremely happy and then suddenly feel very low, or you may have long periods of depression with no Sign of mania. In contrast, people with major depressive disorder usually have more stable mood swings.
Depression can also cause physical symptoms, such as fatigue, body aches, digestive problems, and headaches. Bipolar disorder manifests itself differently for everyone, but it typically doesn’t cause physical symptoms unless you also have another medical condition.
Mania is an extreme state of highs where a person experiences an abnormally elevated mood. Some people with mania may feel like they’re on top of the world and can do anything they set their mind to. They may also feel very irritable during these times. On the other hand, people with severe mania may become psychotic and experience hallucinations or delusions. During a manic episode, people with bipolar disorder may take unnecessary risks, such as spending too much money or engaging in risky sexual behavior
Causes of Depression
There are many possible causes of depression, and it can often be a combination of several factors. These can include:
-Genetic disposition: If you have a family member who has suffered from depression, you may be more likely to experience it yourself.
-Biological factors: Depression has been linked to certain chemicals in the brain, and imbalances of these chemicals can lead to depressive episodes.
-Hormonal changes: Depression is more common in women, particularly during times of hormonal changes such as pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause.
-Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions can lead to depression, such as hypothyroidism and cancer.
-Medications: Some medications can cause or exacerbate depression, such as steroids, some blood pressure medications, and birth control pills.
-Substance abuse: Alcohol and drug abuse can lead to or worsen depression.
-Psychological factors: Negative thinking patterns, low self-esteem, and feelings of hopelessness can all contribute to depression.
-Social factors: Isolation, relationship problems, financial stressors, and major life changes can all lead to feelings of depression.
Treatment for Depression
Depression is a serious medical condition that affects how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease your ability to function at work or home. Symptoms can include:
– Feeling sad or “empty”
– Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
– Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
– Appetite changes – weight loss or gain
– Energy changes – feeling tired all the time
– Difficulty concentrating
– Feeling worthless, guilty, or hopeless
– Thoughts of death or suicide
So, Which One Do I Have?
Do you find yourself moody, tired, and unable to focus? Do you sometimes feel like you can’t control your emotions? You might be wondering if you’re bipolar or depressed. While these two conditions have some similarities, they’re actually quite different.
How to Determine if You Have Bipolar Disorder or Depression
There are several ways to determine if you may have bipolar disorder or depression. Sometimes, people exhibit symptoms of both disorders. It’s important to seek professional help to get an accurate diagnosis.
Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme highs and lows in mood, energy and activity levels. These shifts can be so extreme that they interfere with a person’s ability to carry out day-to-day activities. Depression, on the other hand, is characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, loss of interest in activities, low energy levels and difficulty concentrating.
There are some key differences between bipolar disorder and depression that can help you determine which one you may have:
-Depression is more common than bipolar disorder.
-Bipolar disorder is more likely to run in families than depression.
-People with bipolar disorder experience manic episodes, while people with depression do not.
-Bipolar disorder tends to appear earlier in life than depression.
-People with bipolar disorder often have a history of substance abuse or other mental health disorders
When to See a Doctor
It can be difficult to figure out if you’re bipolar or depressed, because the symptoms are often similar. And it’s even harder to figure out if you should see a doctor, because both conditions can be treated without professional help.
There are a few key differences between bipolar and depression that can help you figure out which one you have:
Bipolar symptoms include both highs (mania) and lows (depression), while depression symptoms are only lows.
Bipolar episodes can last for weeks or even months, while depression episodes usually only last a couple of weeks.
Bipolar disorder is more likely to run in families, while depression is not.
People with bipolar disorder are more likely to have problems with sleep, appetite, and energy levels than people with depression.
If you’re not sure whether you’re bipolar or depressed, the best thing to do is to see a doctor. They will be able to give you a proper diagnosis and help you find the treatment that’s right for you.