Survey reveals hidden dipolarity in many depressed respondents

Aug 16, 2010

Interviews with members of more than 5,000 representative U.S. households as part of the National Comorbidity Survey Replication found that nearly 40 percent of those with major depressive disorder may actually have subthreshold hypomania, defined as a discrete period of increased energy, activity, and euphoria or irritability that is not related to impairment in daily activities.

Hypomania is a less disruptive form of mania that lacks psychotic symptoms. The majority of patients with bipolar disorder experience hypomania, rather than mania. Recognition of subthreshold hypomania, or hypomanic symptoms below the threshold for bipolar disorder, would have implications for the diagnosis and treatment of .

Among those with subthreshold hypomania, family history of mania was just as common as it was among people with threshold mania. In addition, compared to those with depression alone, those who had depression with subthreshold hypomania tended to have an earlier onset of , higher rates of anxiety and substance abuse, and more depressive episodes. Other research has shown that young people with subthreshold hypomania are more likely to develop bipolar disorder over time.

The findings provide key information for evaluating diagnostic criteria for mood disorders and have important implications for promoting appropriate treatment for individuals with bipolar spectrum disorders. Author Kathleen Merikangas, Ph.D., states, “Recognition of hypomania among people with major depression is important in determining the future risk for the development of bipolar disorder, and should be considered in treatment decisions among people with major depression. The increased rate of is of particular concern.”

The study will appear on August 16 at AJP in Advance, the online advance edition of The (AJP), the official journal of the American Psychiatric Association. The National Comorbidity Survey Replication was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institute of Drug Abuse, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and John W. Alden Trust. Manuscript preparation was supported by NIMH and the French National Center for Scientific Research.

Explore further: Offenders turn to mental health services 

Provided by American Psychiatric Association

4.3 /5 (3 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Bipolar disorder impacts workforce

Sep 01, 2006

Bipolar disorder causes twice as much lost time on the job as does the far more prevalent depressive disorder, a study found.

Bright light therapy eases bipolar depression for some

Jan 03, 2008

Bright light therapy can ease bipolar depression in some patients, according to a study published in the journal Bipolar Disorders. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s Western Psychiatric Instit ...

Recommended for you

Offenders turn to mental health services 

1 hour ago

Adult criminal offenders in Western Australian are eight times more likely than non-offenders to use community-based mental health services in the year before their first sentence, a UWA study has found.

Deliberation is staunchest ally of selfishness

2 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—Over the last two years, Yale psychologist David Rand and colleagues have investigated what makes people willing to help each other. Their latest research shows that while initial reactions ...

Touch influences how infants learn language

3 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—Tickling a baby's toes may be cute but it's also possible that those touches could help babies learn the words in their language. Research from Purdue University shows that a caregiver's ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

bottomlesssoul
not rated yet Aug 16, 2010
Having gone through treatment for major depressive disorder in Canada, I learned it was more luck than anything that drove diagnosis and treatment. I got diagnosed by telling the doctor I felt depressed and he simply agreed. Not even an off the web questionnaire for depression.

Later I asked my brother, also a physician, how he diagnosed depression in his practice. It seemed the same way, he admitted to not even trying to use diagnostic tools. He felt they took too much time.

Maybe this will nudge GPs to at least try the tools.

More news stories

High-calorie and low-nutrient foods in kids' TV

Fruits and vegetables are often displayed in the popular Swedish children's TV show Bolibompa, but there are also plenty of high-sugar foods. A new study from the University of Gothenburg explores how food is portrayed in ...

Male-biased tweeting

Today women take an active part in public life. Without a doubt, they also converse with other women. In fact, they even talk to each other about other things besides men. As banal as it sounds, this is far ...