The Difference Between Depression and Bipolar Disorder

When it comes to mental illness, Dr. Ali Ghahary, a family physician in Vancouver, knows that making an accurate diagnosis is important to ensure the patient receives proper treatment. Many types of mental illness often share similar symptoms, though they require different treatment and should therefore be considered separate illnesses.

Bipolar disorder and depression, for example, have similar symptoms but they also differ in many distinctive ways. When you suffer from depression you have an overwhelming sense of sadness along with feeling worthless and hopeless. For many with depression, it can be tough just to get out of bed each day. You may also lose the ability to find interest in things you used to enjoy – whether it’s reading, playing sports, doing arts and crafts, or something else. Relationships can also be severely impacted, as those with depression tend to cut themselves off from the outside world for days, weeks, and even months at a time. Problems with sleep and concentration also go hand in hand with depression. And, in some cases, can lead to suicidal thoughts and/or attempts. With bipolar disorder, it is not uncommon to experience many of the aforementioned symptoms. However, those who are bipolar will also often have extreme mood swings. For example, there will be times where you might feel at your lowest point, while other times you may feel at your best – which is known as a manic period – and can even result in risky behaviours such as alcohol and/or drug abuse, spending sprees, and reckless driving. You may also get little to no sleep during a manic state. While individuals with bipolar disorder will often feel like nothing is wrong with them, friends, family and medical professionals are usually able to notice any kind of strange or out-of-character behaviour.

Diagnosing mental illness, especially bipolar disorder, can sometimes be a bit of a challenge, especially if other factors are involved – such as anxiety, eating disorders, or substance abuse. If you think that you or your loved one may be dealing with a mental illness, it is important that you book an appointment with your family doctor as soon as possible. If you do not have a family doctor, there are many walk-in clinics across Vancouver and the Lower Mainland that have doctors who are able to help you and provide you with any necessary resources. One of those clinics just so happens to be Brentwood Medical Clinic in Burnaby where Dr. Ali Ghahary practices. He is available to see patients on a walk-in basis every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 2 PM to 8 PM, and Sundays from 1 PM to 6 PM. Please note that Dr. Ali Ghahary’s walk-in hours are subject to change and that the clinic may close earlier than expected depending on patient volume. 

***If you or your loved one are experiencing thoughts of suicide, it is recommended that you take them to the nearest emergency room for immediate medical intervention.***