Diagnosing and Treating Patients With Symptoms of Depression




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Because patients with bipolar disorder spend more time experiencing depression than mania, bipolar disorder may be incorrectly diagnosed as unipolar depression. Patients presenting with depressive symptoms should be evaluated for present and lifetime mania symptomatology to ensure a correct diagnosis. Once a bipolar disorder diagnosis has been made, appropriate treatment choices, including mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, psychotherapy, and, in some cases, adjunctive antidepressants, can be made. After a patient has been stabilized, long-term treatment is necessary to prevent episode recurrence and to control subsyndromal symptoms.

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J Clin Psychiatry 2009;70(3):e05