Depressive Disorder and Bipolar Disorder

Both major depressive disorder (MDD) and bipolar disorder (BD) are mental conditions that affect the normal functioning of the brain and cause serious deviations from standards of behavior in a civilized society. Researchers note that when acts of depression occur it is very hard to distinguish between the two disorders (Lan et al., 2014). However, there are certain differences between MDD and BD.

Difference between Major Depressive Disorder and Bipolar Disorder

According to Wise et al. (2016), there are significant differences in brain volume and mood regulation agents. If the symptoms are concerned, MDD usually features a long period of depression together with a lack of energy and interest (“Depression,” 2016). BD, however, is often characterized by frequent changes of low and high moods (American Psychiatry Association, 2013). If MDD occurs rather frequently, being, according to Vos et al. (2016), the third leading cause of disability in 2015, BD is a relatively rare illness that manifests only in 1-3% of the global population (Schmitt, Malchow, Hasan, & Falkai, 2014). In contrast to MDD, BD is often a follow-up of schizophrenia or other personality disorders.

Treatment of MDD and BD

Although the treatment in each particular case can be different, there are a few widespread and effective methods. Light cases of depressive disorder may be countered by psychotherapist sessions (“Depression,” 2016). Majorly, there is a particular reason or reason that triggered the disorder and if a specialist can identify and address that issue, the mental health of a patient could be saved. Another popular method is to mitigate the negative effects of antidepressant pills. The market offers a wide variety of such medications but the effects and contraindications differ from person to person. In addition, antidepressant treatment has a risk of causing withdrawal symptoms as a patient can become addicted to some of them. In this case, a doctor’s assistance is required for a gradual dosage reduction. Alternative treatment can include electroconvulsive therapy, which is electrical stimulation of a brain.

In the case of bipolar disorder, according to Geddes and Miklowitz (2013), the best way to proceed with treatment may be to combine medical and psychotherapeutic methods. They argue that apart from improper brain functioning the reasons for triggering the disorder may extend to the social field. Therefore working with both problem areas may be more effective. Additionally, the researchers note that the study of patients’ circadian rhythms could also help determine the optimal treatment scheme (Geddes & Miklowitz, 2013).

In light of the studied data, there may be a connection of the disorders to the deaths of the people. The studies mentioned above show, that symptoms of MDD and BD might include voice-hearing or delusions. Therefore, the hostage-taker might have imagined danger coming from hostages and killed them in a state of delusion. After he realized what he did he decided to kill himself too.

Pharmaceutical Treatment Effectiveness

The effectiveness of drugs in mental disorder treatment can vary on a variety of factors. In each case, the doctor should determine what exact medication is best for the patient judging from family records or his or her tolerances. There may also be social factors that influence the effectiveness of drugs like family problems, for example. If a person continues to live in an environment that provokes his or her condition then medication can be of little help. The effectiveness of pharmaceuticals, in general, can be determined by clinical trials. If it helps most of the patients then it is considered to be effective. Thus, Lithium antipsychotic drug is mentioned by the researchers as promising (Geddes & Miklowitz, 2013).

Terminology of Psychopathology

Psychopathology is a sphere of medical science that studies mental disorders. The terms used there define various mental conditions, symptoms, and methods of treatment. One of the most important terms is the definition of abnormal behavior. Those include deviance, distress, dysfunction, danger. Deviances mean ideas or actions that are not commonly accepted in a particular society. Distress is a term for the negative emotions of a patient with mental illness. Dysfunction is a violation of daily life, and danger is a behavior that poses a threat to society (Sue, Sue, & Sue, 2015). Other key terms relate to the names of disorders like schizophrenia or phobia. The former is an abnormal perception of reality that is followed by delusions, visions, voices, and so on. The latter is characterized by an irrational reaction to a danger or fear.

Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments of the Major Mental Disorders

Different illnesses of the mind have different symptoms and treatments. Many of the common mental disorders like, for example, stress can be caused by the lifestyle of a person. Conditions like dissociative disorder and schizophrenia are more likely to form due to a genetic malfunction. However, environmental factors like childhood trauma can also increase a person’s risk to develop this disorder. As per the symptoms, stress can feature irritability, anxiety, self-destruction, and others. Schizophrenics often exhibit self-talk, voice-hearing, and hallucinations. If stress can be influenced by medication, physiological therapy, or a change of environment, schizophrenia rarely can be cured completely.

All in all, psychopathology is a vast field of research with many white spots that come from today’s comparatively small progress in the study of the human brain. Many diseases like schizophrenia, or dissociative disorders can rarely become cured. However, there is ongoing research in the spheres of psychopathology and brain functioning. Together with the advancement of technology, there can be an opinion that an effective cure for such disorders can be found.


American Psychiatry Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Arlington, Texas: American Psychiatric Publishing. 123-154.

Depression. NIMH. (2016). Web.

Geddes, J. R., & Miklowitz, D. J. (2013). Treatment of bipolar disorder. Lancet, 381(9878), 1672-82. Web.

Lan, M. J., Chhetry, B. T., Oquendo, M. A., Sublette, M. E., Sullivan, G., Mann, J. J., & Parsey, R. V. (2014). Cortical thickness differences between bipolar depression and major depressive disorder. Bipolar disorders, 16(4), 378-388.

Schmitt, A., Malchow, B., Hasan, A., & Falkai, P. (2014). The impact of environmental factors in severe psychiatric disorders. Frontiers in neuroscience, 8, 19.

Sue, D., Sue, D. W., Sue, S. (2015). Understanding abnormal behavior. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.

Vos, T., Allen, C., Arora, M., Barber, R. M., Bhutta, Z. A., Brown, A.,… & Coggeshall, M. (2016). Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 310 diseases and injuries, 1990-2015: A systematic analysis for the global burden of disease study 2015. The Lancet, 388(10053), 1545.

Wise, T., Radua, J., Via, E., Cardoner, N., Abe, O., Adams, T. M.,… & Dickstein, D. P. (2016). Common and distinct patterns of grey matter volume alteration in major depression and bipolar disorder: Evidence from voxel-based meta-analysis. Web.

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