Although both bipolar disorder and chronic depression have multiple similarities, they also have some key differences. Plagued by extreme sadness or profound emptiness, depression can make even the most cheerful person feel hopeless and restless, taking away his zeal for life. Whereas, people suffering from bipolar disorder are known to oscillate between manic episodes and severe depression. No wonder, both the conditions are often misdiagnosed as major depression.
Now, a study by researchers from Illinois’ Loyola University suggests that both depression and bipolar disorder can be distinguished from each other by monitoring the patient’s heartbeat. For the study published recently in the World Journal of Biological Psychiatry, the researchers examined 64 adults suffering from severe depression and 37 others grappling with bipolar disorder. All the 101 subjects were made to undergo electrocardiograms for a duration of 15 minutes, the results of which were analyzed subsequently using sophisticated software.
The analysis suggested that individuals with severe depression suffered from higher respiratory sinus arrhythmia, a kind of heart rate variability, when compared to the participants with bipolar disorder. “Having a noninvasive, easy-to-use and affordable test to differentiate between major depression and bipolar disorder would be a major breakthrough in both psychiatric and primary care practices,” said Dr. Angelos Halaris, lead researcher of the study.
Generally, while treating a bipolar patient’s depression, doctors prescribe an antidepressant along with an antipsychotic drug which functions as a mood stabilizer as it prevents the antidepressant from triggering a manic episode. This makes it even more important for mental health specialists to learn how to distinguish between instance of a major depressive episode (MDE) and bipolar disorder. Both the mental problems – MDE and bipolar disorder – are common in the United States. While in 2015, about 16 million people aged 18 or older had at least one MDE in the past year, bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million adult Americans in a given year.
Bipolar disorder a serious brain disease
Typically, bipolar disorder surfaces during one’s adolescence and early adulthood owing to factors such as genetics and family history, environment and lifestyle changes, drug or alcohol abuse, exposure to stress and similar conditions. Both men and women are equally vulnerable to the condition. Those suffering from the disorder have trouble performing their day-to-day tasks.
Nowadays, misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder is common. Determining the presence of bipolar disorder by simply observing the external manifestations can actually turn out to be a daunting task. Characterized by dramatic mood swings that range from debilitating depressive episodes to reckless bouts of euphoria, the disorder has been largely overdiagnosed in individuals seeking professional mental health care.
Bipolar disorder is treatable
Mood swings are a part of everyone’s life. But when the rapid change in mood causes severe manic and depressive episodes that interfere with the ability to carry out even mundane routine tasks, then something is wrong. Such symptoms indicate the possibility of suffering from bipolar disorder, which could result as a lifelong mental health condition. However, an early medical intervention can go a long way in managing symptoms of bipolar and can eliminate several hassles, which can ensure a smooth treatment. Remember that any delay in seeking treatment can pave the way for further complications.
Sovereign Health is a top-notch mental health care provider in the U.S. Specialists at our world-class bipolar disorder rehab centers in California are trained to identify the underlying causes and prescribe customized treatment as well as group psychotherapy based on the patient’s requirements. If you or your loved one is struggling with bipolar disorder, call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with one of our representatives to know more about our treatment for bipolar disorders in California.