Is It Depression or Bipolar Disorder?

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Hi, I'm Dr. Miller. What's the difference between depression and bipolar disorder, the two share many symptoms, and people who have bipolar disorder, a condition in which a person has episodes of depression and mania, often have trouble getting an accurate diagnosis. People who have major depression feel sad and tired and they typically lose interest in doing things they normal enjoy.

Someone with bipolar disorder will have episodes of depression but they also have manic episodes in which they will engage in highly risky behaviors such as reckless spending. They'll also be unusually energetic, impulsive and even agitated, but unless the doctor knows abut those manic episodes, someone with bipolar disorder may only be diagnosed for depression, that's because people are more likely to see treatment when they are depressed than when they are on top of the world.

One way to help your doctor to reach accurate diagnosis is to think back on your behavior, over the years. Have you had periods of overly high moods intersperse the periods of depression? Not sure? A family member or close friend maybe able to help you recall and that info can be invaluable for your doctor to give you an accurate diagnosis and better treatment.

I'm Dr. Miller. For more ways to improve your well being, check out all our smart tips.