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Major Depression vs. Bipolar Depression

Like some ancient deity that used to reincarnate from one shape to another, depression nowadays also can have many different faces. Modern medicine defines several types of depression; however, it is not always easy to distinguish one type of depressive disorder from another.

Major depression and bipolar depression are considered to be among the most common types of depression, and though they belong to the same class of mental disorders, the differences between them are almost as substantial as the difference between a subway escalator and roller coaster.

First of all, it should be mentioned that major depression, also known as clinical and unipolar depression, is a condition, which most of us identify as simply “depression”. It is, so to say, a classic type of depression, which is characterized by such symptoms as:

-         down feelings of hopelessness and pessimism

-         persistently sad, anxious, empty or irritable mood

-         lack of interest in favorite activities

-         difficulties with concentration or making decisions

-         changes in sleep patterns and appetite

-         physical slowing or agitation

-         extreme fatigue

-         very low self-esteem

-         intense feeling of guilt and suicidal thoughts.

Of course, experiencing any of these symptoms does not necessary mean depression as a medical condition. Our life is full of surprises, and the majority of them are, unfortunately, unpleasant. So, it is naturally to be in a bad mood in case of wallet loss or intense feeling of guilt after quarrel with wife. However, if one experiences several above mentioned symptoms continuously for at least two weeks – this is a vivid sign to visit a doctor and talk about depression.

While major depression can be characterized as a constant being in blue moods, bipolar depression is about feeling constant ups and downs. Bipolar depression is, in fact, an alternation of depressive periods with manic episodes. When in depressive phase, one experiences the symptoms of major depression described above. Afterwards a period of unusually euphoric feelings comes, when a person can gamble excessively, spend too much money, make foolish decisions, talk too much and too quickly and think that he is one of the heroes.

The typical symptoms of manic episode of bipolar depression are:

-         excessively high or euphoric mood

-         increased energy and restlessness

-         extreme irritability

-         rush thinking and talking

-         poor judgment

-         increased sexual drive

-         provocative, intrusive, or aggressive behavior

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Again, all of these symptoms may naturally occur in one’s life. Job promotion, lottery winning or departure of mother-in-law can surely be the reasons for the elevated mood. It may even seem to be a sign of curing after long depressive period. However, moderation is the key in everything; and when euphoric mood continues for more than one week – this is a true sign of a bipolar depression; moreover, if such manic period is followed by new depression.

So, with over than 15 million people suffering from major depression in the USA and about 5 million having bipolar depression, it is essentially to learn to identify depression in any of its shape and color. Hopefully, this article will be of help to distinguish major depression and bipolar depression.

 
Nick 


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