Even after I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I often doubted the diagnosis. The reason was that my "up" periods were so rare, my depressions so frequent and so long. I thought major depressive disorder was a better diagnosis.
Later I learned something important that I want to share here: people with bipolar II spent about 10% time ill than with bipolar I, and about as much as a whopping 40% more time depressed than people with bipolar I.
Also, as I wrote about in the SharePost Bipolar II - Why Don't I Feel as Good as I Used To? , folks like me with bipolar II often tend not to come all the way back to a good stable mood between depressive episodes. This can leave us going between very depressed and feeling slightly depressed for a long time. I've experienced that often .
As far as symptoms go, there's no difference between the criteria for depressive episodes of bipolar I, bipolar II, and major depression. But having hypomanic episodes occasionally - as I do -
What is the difference between dysthymia and major depression? The simple answer is severity, but let me expand on this further. Technically, dysthymia is a pervasive "low level" depression that lasts a long time – often a few years. "Major Depression" is a discrete episode of severe depression. When it is gone, the patient is in "remission,” and feels completely normal. "Recurrent major depression" comprises discrete periods of major depression that come and go, while "major depression in partial remission" is a severe discrete episode that never completely gets better. How does that feel any differently than dysthymia, you might ask? It doesn't. These terms are descriptions, not different diseases. The problem with these terms is that the medications are pretty much the same: antidepressants. Ostensibly, the diagnosis is supposed to have predictive value. For example, there are high rates of relapse in partially treated depression, while dysthymi...
Studies have shown that stroke often leads to depression, but the evidence from those studies has been mixed as to whether depression could lead to stroke. Now, according to a study published in the March 4, 2008, issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, psychological distress, but not depression, may increase the risk of stroke. “Stroke is among the leading causes of long-term disability and death worldwide... Understanding the mechanisms by which overall emotional health may increase stroke risk may inform stroke prevention and help identify those at increased stroke risk.” study author Paul Surtees, PhD Researchers studied 20,627 people who had never suffered a stroke for an average of 8.5 years. Participants answered questions concerning their psychological distress, based on a scale measuring well-being and their history of major depressive disorder. During the course of the study... 595 participants suffered a st...
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