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Educational Activity

Differential Diagnosis of Unipolar Vs Bipolar Depression

Larry Culpepper, MD, MPH

Published: June 15, 2014

Article Abstract

Bipolar depression is commonly misdiagnosed as unipolar depression, which can be detrimental to the patient. Two effective and valuable screening tools to help accurately diagnose bipolar disorder and differentiate between unipolar depression and bipolar depression are the Mood Disorder Questionnaire and the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. An incorrect or late diagnosis can pose significant consequences because treatment for unipolar depression may actually exacerbate bipolar symptoms. The costs associated with unrecognized bipolar disorder are significantly higher than those for either recognized bipolar disorder or major depressive disorder. Early and accurate diagnosis of bipolar depression is crucial for patients’ well-being in regard to interpersonal, financial, and professional aspects of their lives.p>

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