Bipolar depression: Overview and commentary

Ross J. Baldessarini, Eduard Vieta, Joseph R. Calabrese, Mauricio Tohen, Charles L. Bowden

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations

Abstract

Depressive phases are the most prevalent component of bipolar disorders, even with modern treatment. Bipolar depressive morbidity is often misdiagnosed and is limited in response to available treatments. These conditions are especially debilitating and are associated with psychiatric comorbidity, substance abuse, functional disability, and increased mortality owing to early suicide and accidents, and later medical illnesses. There is growing awareness that bipolar depression is one of the greatest challenges in modern psychiatry. It is essential to differentiate various forms of depression, dysthymia, and dysphoric mixed states of bipolar disorders from the clinical features of more common, unipolar major depressive disorders. In bipolar depression, antidepressant responses often are unsatisfactory, and these agents probably are overused. Emerging treatments, including several anticonvulsant and modern antipsychotic drugs, as well as lithiumalone or in selected combinationsare partially effective for bipolar depression. Interest in recognizing bipolar depression and seeking more effective, specific, and safer treatments for it are growing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-157
Number of pages15
JournalHarvard Review of Psychiatry
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2010

Keywords

  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antidepressants
  • Antipsychotics
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Dysphoria
  • Dysthy-mia
  • Major depression
  • Mixed states
  • Mood stabilizers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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