Many Patients with Bipolar Disorder Mistakenly Treated for Depression

By Staff Writer

Many people who are currently being treated by primary care physicians for depression actually have undiagnosed bipolar disorder, according to a new study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry. The findings may have major implications for individuals undergoing treatment for depression, as the two conditions require different therapies.

After analyzing 154 participants who were receiving treatment for depression from their primary care physicians, researchers from Cardiff University found that 18.8 percent of those individuals actually met the criteria for bipolar disorder, according to Medscape News.

The researchers said that if a person with bipolar disorder receives standard treatment for depression, they are unlikely to benefit very much. The conditions are distinct from one another and demand different types of therapy.

Primary care physicians may benefit from using more specific screening tools and referring some patients to specialized mental health and drug rehab facilities, the researchers told the news source.

Individuals with bipolar disorder who do not receive appropriate treatment, which may include medications and cognitive therapy, are more likely to lose control of their symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic.