When i got hospitalised for a suicide attempt about 4 years ago a doctor changed my diagnosis from “add with severe depression” to bipolar but when i got moved to see the doctor that i grew up seeing he told my mom “he is not bipolar he is add and will go trough periods of severe depression probably the rest of his life” i was wondering what is the difference?

A. Both depression and bipolar disorder are mood disorders. The main difference between the two is that an individual with bipolar disorder experiences mania in addition to their symptoms of depression.

Mania is characterized by increased feelings of euphoria, excessive happiness, increased energy, inflated self-esteem or sense of self, heightened sex drive and impulsivity. Individuals with bipolar disorder cycle between depression and mania. Individuals with depression do not experience symptoms of mania. An individual with depression would only experience a very sad mood whereas an individual with bipolar disorder would experience both a very sad mood and a very happy mood. For individuals with depression, there would be no cycling between the two extremes in mood. Here’s a link that further explains the distinction between depression and bipolar disorder.

I hope this answers your question. If you have any additional questions please do not hesitate to write again.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 2 Mar 2011

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2011). Difference Between ADD with Severe Depression and Bipolar?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 18, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/03/02/difference-between-add-with-severe-depression-and-bipolar/

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