Poles Apart: Unipolar vs. Biplar Depression
Depression affects all socioeconomic levels and age groups. It occurs in women almost twice as often as in men. Approximately 15-20% of elderly people suffer from depression in the United States. People who suffer from depression are at a higher risk of suicide, which makes it important for all health care professions to have a working knowledge of depression as well as disorders that may be confused with depression. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), bipolar disorder affects about 5.7 million adult Americans annually. It is often not recognized and patients often wait a long time before treatment is obtained. Hirschfeld et al (2005) used the Mood Disorder Questionnaire on 649 patients being treated for depression in a family medical clinic. The questionnaire showed that 21% of these patients screened positive for bipolar disorder yet only 50% had ever been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. This INR course titled “Poles Apart” offers an exhaustive review of the neurophysiology, pathogenesis, etiology and diagnostic criteria of affective unipolar disorder/major depressive disorder (UD/MDD) and bipolar disorder (BD). It presents detailed information regarding the role of neurotransmitters and neurohormones in relation to the chemical imbalances found in affective disorders. This home study course separately addresses the differential diagnosis of UD/MDD and BD based on the guidelines established by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (DSM-IV). For each illness, the study reviews common differentials and co-morbidities. In addition, there is discussion about the management of both illnesses, including pharmacological management. Upon completion of this course, the clinician will be able to counsel patients on the wide variety of pharmaceutical, herbal, psychotherapeutic and experimental therapies available. Overall, this home study course gives a thorough review of the latest theories and research concerning unipolar disorder and bipolar disorder and their effects on health. This is essential for clinicians to effectively communicate and collaborate with other health care professionals.