Diagnosing bipolar depression

by Professor Eleni Palazidou


Published: August 2016


Mania is the hallmark of bipolar disorder, yet depression is the predominant clinical state and the one most responsible for the high morbidity and mortality associated with this condition. 


The diagnosis of bipolar depression, though seemingly straightforward, can become a challenging task in the absence of a previous history of mania. Differentiating bipolar from unipolar depression is essential in order to make the correct choice of drug treatment. (The pharmacological treatment of bipolar depression will be covered in Part 2 of this module, which is currently in production.)


In this module you will learn how to recognise bipolarity in patients presenting in a depressed state. Evidence-based information, where available, and practical advice will be given on how to carry out an informed examination and avoid any pitfalls in reaching the correct diagnosis.


Start the module

If you like this module, you may also be interested in:


The pharmacological treatment of resistant depression: an overview

by Professor Philip J. Cowen


The pharmacological management of mania by Dr Karine A.N. Macritchie and Professor Allan H. Young


Treating depression in later life by Dr Cathy Symonds and Professor Julian Hughes


BJPsych Advances: related articles for CPD Online



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