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Consequences of Misdiagnosis: Inaccurate Treatment and Poor Patient Outcomes in Bipolar Disorder

Article Abstract

Bipolar depression is difficult to diagnose and is often mistaken for unipolar depression. Unfortunately, this misdiagnosis creates a cascade of negative outcomes. Patients will probably receive inadequate or inappropriate treatment that will not alleviate the symptoms or impairment of the disorder and may even further destabilize their mood. These individuals are then at risk for experiencing numerous social and occupational impairments, alcohol or substance abuse, and suicidal behavior. An accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment of bipolar disorder are necessary to prevent this chain of potentially disastrous events.

From the Department of Neurology and Psychiatry, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO.

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