Mood Disorders in Family Practice: Beyond Unipolarity to Bipolarity



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Primary care physicians increasingly have treated depressive disorders over the last decade. Unrecognized bipolar disorder, sometimes misdiagnosed as unipolar depression, may lead to treatment resistance or nonresponse. We describe differences between unipolar and bipolar disorders, focusing on recognition, diagnosis, and treatment of bipolar spectrum disorders such as bipolar I, bipolar II, antidepressant-induced mania, and cyclothymia. Broadening the understanding of these different disorders and their presentation in primary care settings can enable earlier and more targeted treatment. Though 3 mood stabilizers are U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved for treatment of acute mania, no medications are currently approved for treating bipolar depression.

Primary Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry 2002;4(4):142-150