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Bipolar II Disorder vs. Unipolar Major Depression

August 21, 2018

Bipolar II disorder is primarily a disorder of recurrent episodes of depression (plus or minus persistent less severe degrees of depression); what distinguishes it  from unipolar (non-bipolar) recurrent depression is 1) the presence of at least one hypomanic episode, which is when someone experiences elevated mood (euphoric or agitated), decreased sleep/decreased need for sleep, increased impulsivity, inflated sense of self, increased libido, increased speediness of thoughts, increased energy, and such, for most of the day, for 4 days or more and 2) bipolar depression often requires different medications (e.g., Lamictal, Latuda) to treat it than unipolar depression, and standard medications for unipolar depression are both less effective (in an enduring way) and carry a real risk of worsening bipolar disorder (precipitating hypomanias, worse depressions, and/or increased frequency of episodes). 

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