Affective disorders depression and bipolar disorder

Depressive disorders involve all major bodily functions, mood, and thoughts, affecting the ways in which an individual eats and sleeps, feel about themselves, and think. Without treatment, depressive symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. Fortunately, however, appropriate treatment can help most individuals suffering from depression. An increasing number of treatment options have become available over the past 20 years for individuals with major depression disorder (MDD), accompanied by a growing body of evidence-based medicine describing their effectiveness, efficacy, and safety that provides clinicians with multiple options to determine the most appropriate treatment for each patient.1

Bipolar affective disorder (BPAD or manic-depressive illness) is a common, recurrent, and severe psychiatric disorder characterized by episodes of mania, depression, or mixed states (simultaneously occurring manic and depressive symptoms). BPAD is frequently unrecognized and goes untreated for many years without clinical vigilance. Newer screening tools assist physicians in making the diagnosis and several drugs are now available to treat the acute mood episodes of BPAD and to prevent further episodes with maintenance treatment.

Two consensus reviews on depression and one on BPAD have been published by the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP),2 the other by the British Association of Psychopharmacology (BAP) on depression.3 Consensus reviews on BPAD have also been published by BAP4 and the American Psychiatric Association (APA).5 Together, these encompass the major findings and lessons learned from antidepressant and BPAD research over the last decade, providing treatment guidelines for these conditions (see below). They also bring some consensus to disparities that exist in the clinical diagnosis of depression and mania.

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