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March 1974

Unipolar and Bipolar Depressive Illness: Phenomenology and Response to Electroconvulsive Therapy

Author Affiliations

New York
From the Department of Psychiatry, New York Medical College, New York (Dr. Abrams), and the Department of Psychiatry, State University of New York at Stony Brook (Dr. Taylor).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1974;30(3):320-321. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1974.01760090038006

We reviewed the records and depression rating-scale scores of 43 patients with endogenous depression who received electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and classified them as having unipolar or bipolar depressive illness.

We found no differences between 28 unipolar and 15 bipolar depressive patients for the severity of illness, the clinical psychopathology of the depressive syndrome, or the response to ECT. Bipolar patients had an earlier age at illness onset, an excess of women, a greater incidence of cyclothymia and mesomorphy, and a greater genetic loading for affective illness.

Despite the differentiation of unipolar and bipolar depressives by various biological criteria they exhibit a homogeneous syndrome of endogenous depression and a uniform response to ECT.

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