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The Differences Between Bipolar Disorder and Depression

A man struggling with depression at home.
Learn the differences between depression and bipolar disorder today.

If you’re struggling with your mental health, many important aspects of your life can feel unbalanced. You may find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning, leaving the house may be an uphill battle and interacting with others might send chills up your spine. While many mental health conditions include feelings of depression, each condition comes with its own set of challenges.

For anyone who isn’t a mental health professional, it’s often difficult to separate clinical depression from bipolar disorder. In this post, we’re going to take an in-depth look at both mental health conditions to help you begin to determine the type of support you need.

Defining Depression

At its core, major depressive disorder causes you to experience long periods of intense sadness and disinterest in your passions. Do you remember when you were growing up and all your childhood toys seemed to lose all their wonder overnight? That’s exactly what depression can feel like, but the toys are replaced with almost every aspect of your life.

What makes depression so difficult to manage is that these stretches of sadness and hopelessness often persist until you seek treatment. Some of the major symptoms of clinical depression include:

• Strong feelings of anxiety and emptiness
• Low energy and fatigue
• Changes in your appetite and weight unrelated to your diet
• Chronic headaches, aches and pains
• Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and irritability

While many of these symptoms overlap with bipolar disorder, you’ll only experience mental lows without any of the manic feelings we’ll discuss below. It’s also important to note that depression affects everyone differently. During depression treatment, a mental health professional will prescribe you anti-depressants and have you try different kinds, if you don’t experience relief from your symptoms.

An Inside Look at Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is often characterized by severe shifts in your mood. For example, you may go from feeling so depressed that you can’t get out of bed to feeling so euphoric and manic you can’t sit still.

The main difference between clinical depression and bipolar disorder is these periods of mania. In a manic state, you have endless bounds of energy and creativity that make you feel like you can accomplish anything. Unfortunately, this mania can increase your risk of engaging in risky or dangerous behavior.

Types of Bipolar Disorder

Manic episodes you can experience differ between two types of bipolar disorder. With type one bipolar disorder, manic episodes are much more severe, and you cycle between states of depression and mania more often. In comparison, the manic states with type two bipolar disorder are usually milder and it’s possible to maintain your other responsibilities.

Some of the main symptoms and signs of mania include:

• Difficulty focusing
• Agitation and extreme irritability
• A high and euphoric mood
• Feelings of increased energy, restlessness and activity
• Racing thoughts and thinking that everything is connected
• Feeling like you don’t need sleep

If you’re suffering from bipolar disorder, it unfortunately increases your risk of developing a substance abuse disorder. One of the key aspects of mania is not seeing the dangers of engaging in risky behavior. When you’re in a state of mania, the normal apprehension you might have about trying drugs or alcohol to cope is less prevalent.

However, premiere dual diagnosis treatment centers like The Raleigh House offer personalized support for your mental health condition and any co-occurring substance abuse. Our expert team has over 10 years of experience helping people better identify and overcome their mental health and substance disorders.

Contact the Raleigh House for Depression and Bipolar Disorder Treatment

When you’re going through depression or bipolar disorder, it’s natural to feel alone, isolated and hopeless. But at The Raleigh House, we understand the challenges that you’re going through and can help you find healing.

At our mental health and addiction treatment wellness lodge just outside of Denver, we offer evidence-based treatment like individual and group therapy and experiential activities like rock climbing and yoga to strengthen your mind and body. When you come to The Raleigh House for treatment, our top priority is helping you find a path to lasting recovery.

Mental health conditions like depression and bipolar disorder aren’t destined to control your life. Contact our admissions team today to learn more about our treatment approach.

Call Now: 720-891-4657

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