Bipolar Depression

According to the Mayo Clinic, in the depressive phase, signs and symptoms include: persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, guilt, anger, isolation and/or hopelessness, disturbances in sleep and appetite, fatigue and loss of interest in daily activities, problems concentrating, irritability, chronic pain without a known cause, recurring thoughts of suicide

A 2003 study by Robert Hirschfeld, M.D., of the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston found bipolar patients fared worse in their depressions than unipolar patients. In terms of disability, lost years of productivity, and potential for suicide, bipolar depression, which is different (in terms of treatment), from unipolar depression, is now recognized as the most insidious aspect of the illness.

Severe depression may be accompanied by symptoms of psychosis. These symptoms include hallucinations (hearing, seeing,or otherwise sensing the presence of stimuli that are not there) and delusions (false personal beliefs that are not subject to reason or contradictory evidence and are not explained by a person's cultural concepts). They may also suffer from paranoid thoughts of being persecuted or monitored by some powerful entity such as the government or a hostile force, or become paranoid that they'll be abandoned and left by those close to them. Intense and unusual religious beliefs may also be present, such as patients' strong insistence that they have a God-given role to play in the world, a great and historic mission to accomplish, or even that they possess supernatural powers. Delusions in a depression may be far more distressing, sometimes taking the form of intense guilt for supposed wrongs that the patient believes he or she has inflicted on others.

There are a number of conflicting theories on what can be considered the cause of bipolar depression, and what may be a symptom, none of which are yet widely accepted as correct.

It is crucially important to understand that there is no blood test or brain scan that expresses distinctly that this disorder exists.