Is it Depression or Bipolar Disorder? Here's How to Tell the Difference

difference between depression and bipolar disorder

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Although depression and bipolar disorder can present with similar symptoms, they’re not the same. In the mental health world, we know these two conditions have distinct differences.

If you’re wondering whether you have depression or bipolar disorder, there are ways to tell. This article will discuss the differences between depression and bipolar disorder and the signs and symptoms to look for that can tell you whether you have either one of them.

Getting the proper mental health treatment can be challenging. But one way to do so is to know what your symptoms are. Here are the differences between the two conditions.

What is Depression?

difference between depression and bipolar disorder

When you’re depressed, you feel exhausted. Your mood is low, and you have feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. There are different symptoms of depression, but the underlying mood is extreme emotional fatigue.

Depression can last anywhere from weeks to months. It can feel never-ending. When people are depressed, they isolate themselves from their loved ones. They often have difficulty functioning. Some people go to work and hide their depression well. Others have difficulty maintaining their jobs because they’re depressed and end up getting fired.

Depression, like anything else, ranges in severity. No matter what, it’s crucial to get treatment for depression before it gets to the point where it is unmanageable. One sign that you need treatment is that you are hiding your depression. The good news is that it is a condition that’s highly treatable when you get the right mental healthcare.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

difference between depression and bipolar depression


Bipolar disorder consists of two states: mania and depression. When a person is manic, they feel out of control. Mania can feel downright terrifying. The person talks quickly and is engaging in impulsive and frightening behavior.

Some people also engage in reckless sexual behavior. Others are compulsive gamblers. Sometimes a person will spend thousands of dollars when they are manic. They may be so irritable that they push their loved ones away. When people try to tell them that their behavior is out of control, they won’t listen.

One of the challenges of bipolar disorder is that many people are in denial of their condition. It’s essential to know the signs of mania so that you can get the correct treatment.

Bipolar Depression

Bipolar depression is slightly different from major depressive disorder, although they have overlapping similarities. When somebody is experiencing depression who has bipolar disorder, it is severe. They are crashing from a manic episode.

At the same time, depression is the complete antithesis of feeling manic. A person who is depressed and has bipolar disorder has an absence of emotion. They may get so depressed that they are suicidal. It’s common to have suicidal ideation when you have bipolar depression. That’s why it’s crucial to get treatment. Those with bipolar disorder need to get medical intervention. It’s tough to manage bipolar disorder without these treatments. It’s crucial to reach out for help.

How to Find Help

depression vs bipolar disorder

No matter what your mental health struggles are, you can find the right treatment. Depression and bipolar disorder are highly treatable by the proper mental health professional.

If you’re unclear whether you have depression or bipolar disorder, it can help to read up on the topics. You can learn more on Mind Diagnostics. You can also find a therapist in your local area or try online counseling. It depends on what works for your schedule and comfort level. With online counseling, you can see a mental health professional in the privacy of your home. You can talk to them via chat, phone, or video conference.

No matter what your preferences are, your mental health is essential. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help when you need it.


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Marie Miguel
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.