Bipolar Disorder vs Depression – 5 Signs You’re Likely Bipolar

Bipolar Disorder vs Depression – 5 Signs You’re Likely Bipolar

Bipolar Disorder vs Depression. Sometimes it’s hard to tell. That’s what I’m talking about in this
video. I’m Dr. Tracey Marks and if you’re new
here, I talk about mental health education and self-improvement. I produce weekly episodes every Wednesday So if you don’t want to miss one, press subscribe and the notification button as well. Bipolar disorer can first show itself as depression,
mania or hypomania. If you start out with a depressive episode,
you can have that diagnosis for years until you have your first manic or hypomanic episode,
then your diagnosis will change to either bipolar 1 or bipolar 2. But there are some signs that your depression,
may really be bipolar disorder even if you haven’t received that diagnosis yet. And why does this matter? Because the treatment for bipolar disorder
is different from unipolar depression. Here are 5 signs that you may really be on
the bipolar spectrum as we now call it. I base this information on the diagnostic manual that we use and the
Bipolarity Index by Dr. Gary Sachs. The reference to his research article is in
the description below. Number 1. Your first depressive episode occurs before age 20 In bipolar, the average age of onset is between ages 15 and 20, Whereas with unipolar depression it tends to be between 30 to 40. This doesn’t mean, yes it’s possible that you can have a depressive episode as a child not really have anything else happen until your 30’s again. But in general, bipolar disorder that includes both depression and mania tends to present itself in the late teen years. Whereas unipolar depression as we call it where all you have is depressive episodes tends to occur or present for the first time later in life. 2. You don’t get better with antidepressants,
and in some you may even get worse. Antidepressants are more likely to cause mixed
states where you may become anxious, agitated – we call it wired by tired. You could’ve responded well to an antidepressant
in the past. But now your depression just still can’t
seem to get better with antidepressants. And it could be that now your bipolar disorder is just starting to become more evident 3. You have a family member with bipolar disorder. And this is more important if it’s a first degree relative such as a parent or child, this wouldn’t apply to a cousin. . 4. You have 3 or more depressive episodes in
a 5 year time span. Bipolar disorder tends to be cyclical and
reoccurs on a somewhat regular or frequent basis. So in a typical course you may have a depressive
episode that is then followed by mania or hypomania. Then maybe that one will be followed later on sometime by a depressive episode. And these episodes though can be months or even a year or more apar.t But it still just keeps cycling. Whereas the depression alone you tend to have
an episode that may or may not come back at some point but you don’t generally get this pattern of repeating itself unless it’s a part of seasonal affective disorder
which is a different entity from singular depression. So when a person has repetitive depressive
episodes we now start to think more along the lines of considering whether the person has a bipolar spectrum illness. And you know the hypomanic episodes can float by unnoticed. Hypomania generally doesn’t cause impairment. I’m going to have a future video talking about bipolar 1 versus bipolar 2. But because it doesn’t the same level of impairment that manic episodes cause, It’s possible that you can have a hypomanic episode where you just feel really good, on top of the world, doing things you want to do no problem. And not really see it as a problem. Such that if you really take a step back and look it really looks like you had repetitive depressive episodes. but the hypomania just went unnoticed. So that could be a reason why your repetitive depressive episodes may really be a part of bipolar two disorder in this case. Lastly number 5. You take a mood stabilizer and have full recovery
within 1 month now this is still tricky sign because we will
use mood stabilizers as an add-on treatment for treatment resistant depression. Now this is not an absolute. It doesn’t mean that if you’ve ever in your life responded well to a mood stabilizer such as Abilify, Rexulti, Seroquel which we use these drugs for other reasons too, it doesn’t mean if you’ve done well with one of those, you have bipolar disorder. What this all means is it’s just little hints or suggestions that is some of these things have been an issue with you, you might want. You and your doctor might want to think about whether or not Your illness is really your depression that you’re seeing at the moment is really part of a bipolar illness. And why does this matter? Because the way that we treat bipolar disorder is different than the way that we treat depression. And as I’ve mentioned some people can do worse, some people with bipolar disorder can do worse with antidepressants. Particularly antidepressants alone. So what your doctor would do differently is either add
a mood stabilizer to your antidepressant, or nix the antidepressant altogether and use 1 or even 2 mood stabilizers to treat you. That’s some of the differences that you would see if you were being treated for bipolar disorder versus depression. That’s it.



  • Dr. Tracey Marks

    I define a Bipolar episode in a previous video. You can see that here:

  • Corrinne Garfield

    Wow! So glad I found this!,
    My sister has spinal me enviros at 4, was left on phenobarbital till 8 and was doing speed all’s by 9 after they discontinued the pheno.
    Her whole life was messy, but labeled simply as a drug addict.
    Two years ago she had a heroin relapse and that one shot she got a spinal infection that was going around.
    When I got to the hospital, they were confused she had no heroin in her system,( about a month after the relapse, which happened when someone gave her some devastating news about her grown daughters own addiction and behavior.
    Anyway, the doc on call, had seen her randomly 15 yrs earlier for unrelated issue, but she never went back to follow up, he told me he thought she was bipolar 2 but couldn’t follow up since she never went back. He said she was manic at that spot and he never saw an active state!
    I told him she owned her addiction and never brought up the meningitis, and about the pheno and doing drugs at 9 after, that I never thought it was an addiction thing, I felt it was always mental illness, and no one wanted to hear it not even her.
    Until the infection.
    She has 3 shells in her spine, one or two likely being the contained menengitis virus, and one or two being the spinal infection itself, they had to treat with higher doses of morphine to control the pain that was so bad she remembers very little of the next two weeks.
    NH has few phsyciatrists, so the doc is trying to treat and it’s not been confirmed by a therapist, and he just tries differnt meds, she is in a boarding house waiting for housing so I don’t think experimentation in that environment which is very unstable having to share bath and kitchen times, so she cleans cleans cleans, but is being asked to leave tenancy. Fit for her, these areas would be condemned.
    But her manic episodes are accused of relapse, I knew she was sober, but was up for 4 days while I visited.
    She is so happy to know it IS mental illness, and combination with brain injury from menengitis, it took 52 years to get to what I always knew, her life was hijacked by not allowing the menengitis to be part of the diagnosing beyond drug addiction.
    I need a good therapist, probably have to go to Massachusetts’s or Maine like many phsyce patients in NH, I would and she does, definitive dignosis before beginning treatment.
    Watching this, it could be BP1 with mania, not 2 with hypo mania. Maybe even borderline PD.
    Can you give me a referral for a phsyciatrist that can see her or do face time appt local to Nashua my.
    Most of the local therapists are so into the addicts, they focus on that and not the phsycological pissibilty that it was prefaced by the addiction??

  • Naked Potato

    You know a women is all about that professional life when she mentions the references before she starts with the actual content.

    I LOVE IT!!!!

  • Joselynn Pross

    I’ve been depressed for 60 years, since I was age 5 right after my brother was born. First started thinking if Suiside at age 17. Everything came to ahead at age 35 when my father died of Cancer. I and my whole family went to therapy to cope. I started on Antidepresants at that time too. I have also been very angry All my life too. At 49 my sister died of NHL, and I lost my job, and had a breakdown. 7 years later I went to A new Psychiatrist and was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder II with a Varient. I was put on a mood stabilizer with did even out my mood. But I stopped having any Manic episodes, which Saddened me because I relelied on the manic episodes to put me in the mood to clean and organize my house. It would only last one day, but I got an awful lot done. So last manic episode was 9 years ago. My house is a mess. I also started to suffer badly from arthritic pain of my spine, knees, elbow and shoulder. I go to pain management and get Percocet for the pain. When I first started taking the medication, I felt wonderful, about myself and about life. I had the desire to organize and clean my house, and went thru the wave of IT diets and lost weight . But now I just turned 65 this past November, and I feel I have aged 10 year in the past 5 months. My moods don,t give me the elevated feeling I used to get, only if I take a higher dose of pain med. I am now suffering from fluid retention in my legs and feet, and slight difficulty breathing with bending and exertion, so house cleaning and activities like shopping are quite difficult. I do have diet controlled AODM. But that too is getting poorly managed. I had a lot of stress this summer when I had my kitchen and upstairs bathroom gutted and completely redone. I still have boxes piled up everywhere. I have no one to help me. I fear my physical ailments could possibly be some CHF. But I’m afraid to go to the doctor. So far I have been somewhat successful in treating myself. I was an RN/Case manager before I retired.

    I remember one of my past therapists saying that there were some trials going on for treating depression with Narcotic pain management. As I said earlier that it DID work for me when I first started on the pain meds.

    Now I don’t know how to proceed with my life. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

  • Kristina Komarova

    I know something is wrong with me.. Feels like I've been depressed my whole life.. It sucks to be down 10/12 months of the year.. Has anyone tried online counseling? I am extremely stressed when thinking about going to a therapist and feel extremely uncomfortable talking to strangers.. And i hate antidepressants.. That's all they give you when you go to a therapist in my country.. They make me want to rip my brain off the next day when i wake up 😭

  • My Thought's

    What if you have anxiety disorder? It comes with depression automatically. So how do you know if you are bi polar disorder?

  • Jane Dearc

    So if anyone is reading my comment and has bipolar disorder I would like them to help me. I'm not sure whether I am bipolar or not. I've been diagnosed with Social phobia and depression 2 years ago and I went to therapy. Since then I've noticed that my social anxiety reduced a lot thanks to therapy, but I noticed that I have lots of mood swings. I am really young (17 years) and I thought that my mood was like any other person (sometimes people are sad and other timer they are happy). But I realised that somehow it cannot be that way because there were lots of days that I felt so suicidal and hopeless, while other days I was so productive and loving being alive. Some days I wonder if I'm being exhagerated, maybe I'm normal after all. The thing is that this mood swings are very scary, because they are totally unpredictable and often nothing bad happens to me to feel depresive. I don't know what to think about this and if someone could help me I would be really greatful♡ (by the way english is not my first language so I'm sorry if I've made mistakes)

  • Dp 17

    I've been having anti depressants on and off for the last 12 years, never ever made me feel better. My depression is just about the lowest I've ever been right now, so hard it's almost a physical pain in itself, and the anxiety does leave me in pain throughout my back and shoulders, not to mention the headaches.. I'm so tired of the long runs of depression and anxiety and the swings to feeling really ok and normal. I long for another happy spell

  • Geoffrey S Tuttle

    I wonder if hypo-manic episodes can go unnoticed precisely because they are part of a regimen of unrealistic pressure on one's self to succeed? Looking back now at 25 years of life as an artist, staying up for three days to install a new show was expected and considered to be "inspired" behavior; being "in the flow". Heavily embittered downtime spent ruminating and intolerably depressed was also considered normal. It was all part of the "artist's temperament"; also a part of ambition. Now that my life has been formed by these stormy behaviors, I can see that they don't contribute to a regular, healthy life.

  • Kenneth Guyton

    Schizoaffective disorder help

  • NDN AF

    I have an appt tomorrow with my psychiatrist. I'm nervous about telling her about a few episodes I've have in the last couple of months with Geodon and Cymbalta. Wish me luck! Thanks Dr. Marks for helping me understand better!

  • Michael Allen

    This brilliantly explains my 30 years of antidepressants for recurring depression followed by a psychiatrist identifying my cyclical pattern with mania/hypermania as Bipolar and the different, a bit dangerous, drug that has made my life manageable for 25 years.

  • I Am Today

    How do bipolar spectrum disorders and depressive states relate to trauma/PTSD? Also, how would it correlate to/with autism spectrum dissidents? I'm not sure exactly what I'm trying to ask?

  • troy lenz

    Wired but tired?
    I haven't heard that one, that's pretty good.

  • troy lenz

    Since they finally found the right medication for me I haven't had a major depressive episode in quite a long time. Why am I commenting? This video is 5 years old.

  • Rosie P

    nobody takes my emotions seriously because my highs and lows are completely related to my menstration and cycle. doctors and psychologists seem to forget that it doesn’t make what i’m feeling not real or not as bad

  • Edward Kibirige

    Thank you Dr. Marks. I've just discovered your channel and it's excellent! Do you have a video on the difference between Bipolar and Manic Depressive conditions? I have a close relative who I am sure is one of the two. I just need more clarification on the differences in order to be able to guide them to seek appropriate professional care.

  • Lance May

    Signs my phone and you tube is bipolar

  • Pam P.

    I was misdiagnosed with bipolar and prescribed mood stabilizers and became manic. It was horrible and the Drs wouldn't listen to me. I have had depression and aniexty from a very young age. I was misdiagnosed in my late thirtys. The meds caused phycosis and mania. It was very scary and a horrible experience. I had to quit my job and go on disability . I've been off those meds for over 6 years and still have depression and aniexty but will go it without meds. Thank you for letting me share my story.

  • Linsey K

    I think you should mention PMDD in women… One could think they're bipolar, but it's just cycle related.

  • Blu Delphinium

    Signs you likely ~have~ bi-polar disorder.
    NOT: your likely bi-polar

    You would never say ‘she’s cancer’. She ~has~ cancer. A person should not b defined by an illness. They have an illness.

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