Unipolar and Bipolar Disorder
University of Phoenix
Unipolar and bipolar disorders are two very common types of mood disorders that are found in people today. They are both hard to distinguish the differences between the two and if diagnosed incorrectly, can end with a treatment that is useless for the patient. Both disorders are considered to be genetic and both carry a risk of suicide, the question is, what is the difference between the two How do you know if you have unipolar disorder or bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder is the more common one out of the two disorders. Everyone seems to go through a time where they may feel as though they have bipolar disorder. We all go through our ups and downs due to stress or lack of sleep. Having bipolar disorder is an extended period of time where you cannot function as a person and can affect your life in many ways. There are many causes to bipolar disorders and it is hard to pinpoint which specific cause leads to that person??™s bipolar disorder, it differs for every patient. Many causes have been linked to genetics and it being hereditary. People with a family history of bipolar disorder have a higher chance of getting it themselves. There are other times that bipolar disorder can be brought on by a stressful event in a person??™s life, such as the loss of a spouse or a divorce. This does not always lead to bipolar disorder but it may for some. Unipolar disorder has the same types of causes. About 10% of unipolar patients become bipolar in the course of a long follow-up (1994). Unipolar disorder is known to be an intense depression. This can run through blood and be inherited or be triggered by a major life event. Over 8% of the unipolar patients had a family history of bipolar disorder (1994).
Symptoms of unipolar disorder vary from patient to patient. Some symptoms include; flat emotional behavior, anxiety, decreased energy, hopelessness, suicidal thoughts or a disturbance in eating and sleep habits. The main difference that distinguishes unipolar and bipolar disorder is the fact that with unipolar patients, the patients only have symptoms at the low end of the spectrum. With bipolar disorder, patients go through cycles of manic and depressive symptoms. Some of the symptoms included with bipolar disorder through the manic cycle include; nervousness, poor judgment, increased sex drive, euphoria, boundless energy, or reckless spending and making decisions without thinking of the consequences. Some symptoms included with bipolar disorder through the depressive cycle include; low energy, constant fatigue, lack of confidence, sadness, no interest in tasks, or self-abuse. The rate of previous suicide attempts is the lowest in unipolar major depression and the role of prior suicidal behavior in bipolar patients is significantly higher than that of unipolar (Rihmer, 2002). Bipolar patients tend to go through different cycles of all of these symptoms randomly. This is the best way to diagnose a patient is to realize if they are going through both cycles or just the low cycle of depression. Diagnosing these two disorders is crucial in finding the correct help. If diagnosed incorrectly, medication can be given and may worsen symptoms.
There are a few treatments for bipolar disorder that can help to reduce the severity of manic and depressive episodes. There are certain medications that can be prescribed by a psychiatrist that can help in extreme manic episodes and insomnia. In some cases, it is enough to just go through therapy for the patient and for the patient??™s family. There are many support groups that someone can go to and are available to patients and their families to help cope with bipolar disorder. Treatments for unipolar disorder include psychotherapy or even electroconvulsive therapy for the more severe cases. There is also medication to help such as certain antidepressants. For other cases, hospitalization may be required, especially if the patient is causing harm to themselves or has even spoken of causing harm to themselves or anyone else.
Unipolar and bipolar disorders may seem so common at times that they may not seem important. The fact is both of these disorders can lead to death, suicidal death. What may seem like a mild mood disorder or may be depressed is more severe than people can imagine. Almost everyone will go through a stage of depression at some point, but when that stage begins to last weeks or months; it is wise to seek help.
Distinguishing unipolar and bipolar disorder patients. (1994). The American Journal of
Psychiatry, 151(9), 1397. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/220457034accountid=458 Lewine, R. J. (1985).
Rihmer, Z., & Kiss, K. (2002). Bipolar disorders and suicidal behaviour. Bipolar Disorders, 4 Suppl 121-25.
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