How are unipolar (major depressive) disorder and bipolar affective disorder (manic-depressive illness) differentiated?

Updated: May 30, 2019
  • Author: Stephen Soreff, MD; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Unipolar (major depressive) disorder and bipolar disorder share depressive symptoms, but bipolar disorder is defined by episodes of mania or hypomania. A community lifetime prevalence of 1.8%–4% for BPI and BPII disorder combined has been suggested. The costs of bipolar disorder include the direct costs of treatment along with the even more significant indirect costs of excess unemployment, decreased productivity, and excess mortality; it is a severely impairing illness that affects many aspects of patients' lives. [6]

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