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October 25, 2007

Unipolar Depression and Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder

A new study brings to light the problem of incorrect or incomplete diagnosis for people afflicted with bipolar disorder. Patients receiving medication for depression or any mental dysfunction should consult the advice and guidance of a trained mental health professional. The study targeted 790 patients diagnosed with unipolar depression who had previously attended a GP practice in Darlington, Cleveland by sending them Mood Disorder Questionnaires (MDQ). Of the original 790, 278 patients returned the questionnaires and the results were that 24 percent had an episode of mania or mild mania. Subsequent assessment of the patients showed that half had bipolar disorder.

UK Researcher Dr. Stuart Watson from the University of Newcastle, Department of Psychiatry, points out that "treating bipolar patients as though they had depression could exacerbate the condition. ‘The guidelines say that bipolar patients shouldn’t be on an antidepressant drug without an antimania drug,’ he said. The concern is that treating bipolar disorder with antidepressants alone can exacerbate the mania side of the disorder."

Again, this study brings to light the problem of incorrect or incomplete diagnosis. The MDQ is one way to diagnose people afflicted with bipolar disorder and consulting a mental health professional for this or any other mental diagnosis and treatment is preferential. It reduces the chance of incomplete or misdiagnosis.

Source: Healthcare Republic

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