Diagnosing bipolar depression

Professor Eleni Palazidou

60 minutes


August 2016

CPD learning module

CPD domain:

Bipolar disorder.jpg

Mania is the hallmark of bipolar disorder, yet depression is the predominant clinical state and the one most responsible for the high morbidity and mortality associated with this condition.

The diagnosis of bipolar depression, though seemingly straightforward, can become a challenging task in the absence of a previous history of mania. Differentiating bipolar from unipolar depression is essential in order to make the correct choice of drug treatment. (The pharmacological treatment of bipolar depression will be covered in Part 2 of this module, which is currently in production.)

In this module you will learn how to recognise bipolarity in patients presenting in a depressed state. Evidence-based information, where available, and practical advice will be given on how to carry out an informed examination and avoid any pitfalls in reaching the correct diagnosis.


We are currently looking for authors to review and update this course. If you are interested or know of someone that may be able to help, please contact elearning@rcpsych.ac.uk.

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