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Major Depressive Disorder Vs. Bipolar Disorder

the difference between depression and bipolarIntroduction

Yes, Major Depressive Disorder and Bipolar Disorder are both types of mood disorders. However, you may be wondering what is the difference between Major Depressive Disorder and Bipolar Disorder. Continue reading this article to find out. This article will describe the symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder and Bipolar Disorder, as well as the distinguishing factors between the two disorders.

What Are The Symptoms Of Major Depressive Disorder?

According to Everyday Health, the following symptoms are present in the diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder:

  • Pervasive sadness
  • Extreme fatigue or loss of energy
  • Inability to make a decision
  • Lack of interest in activities that are normally enjoyable
  • Appetite changes
  • Sleep problems
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

In addition, Everyday Health adds that it is also important to remember that depression is characterized by an intense, prolonged “down” state of mind. This “down” state of mind interferes with a person’s daily life, as well as a person’s ability and desire to engage in relationships and regular activities.

What Are The Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder?

In addition to discussing the symptoms associated with Major Depressive Disorder, the symptoms associated with Bipolar Disorder will also be discussed. According to Everyday Health, the following symptoms are present for a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder to be given:

  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Excessively high energy; rapid speech and thoughts
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Over-inflated sense of self-importance
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Disturbed judgment
  • Increased recklessness (usually involving money, drugs, alcohol, or sex)

With that said, there are a wide range of symptoms associated with Bipolar Disorder.

What Is The Distinguishing Factor Associated With Major Depressive Disorder and Bipolar Disorder?

According to Everyday Health, “The main difference between bipolar disorder and depression are the mania symptoms— characterized by excessive excitement or irritability, extreme elation, and delusions of grandeur — that are associated with the bipolar condition.” It is also important to note that the cyclical patterns of bipolar disorder are distinct from depression. With that said, there is a distinct difference between Bipolar Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder.


According to Everyday Health, “If left untreated, both bipolar disorder and depression can have serious consequences in people’s personal and professional lives — and can even result in suicide. For this reason, it is crucial to remember that these mood disorders are treatable.” With that said, do not be afraid to seek help.  It is not a sign of weakness to contact your doctor but rather a sign of strength.

Difference concept image available from Shutterstock

Major Depressive Disorder Vs. Bipolar Disorder

Lauren Walters

My name is Lauren Walters. I am currently heading into my final semester of graduate school for Mental Health Counseling in the Spring of 2016. Through my own experiences with mental illness, I love to inspire others through my writings and reassure them that they can live healthy, productive lives, despite mental illness. I hope you enjoy my articles. Feel free to comment. I will be sure to respond to you questions and/or comments in a prompt manner. Enjoy!

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APA Reference
Walters, L. (2016). Major Depressive Disorder Vs. Bipolar Disorder. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 20, 2020, from


Last updated: 28 Apr 2016
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