For most people with bipolar disorder, depression is the most frequent symptom. Because of this, bipolar disorder is often misdiagnosed as unipolar depression (like Major Depressive Disorder).
In some cases, bipolar patients may be more aware of their frequent depression but may not have recognized (or are be unable to recognize) signs of mania, which stems from bipolar disorder. In these situations, they may be treated for unipolar depression instead of bipolar depression.
Some treatments for unipolar depression can make bipolar depression worse or cause bipolar mania. If you have bipolar disorder, mood stabilizers may be a more effective and safer treatment option than antidepressants. Your psychiatrist can help verify that you have the correct diagnosis so that you can receive the most effective treatment.
Using mood stabilizers can reduce symptoms of bipolar disorder and increase your ability to pursue your interests and participate more fully in many aspects of your life. Verifying that you have the correct diagnosis is important, so if in doubt, talk to your doctor. They may consider the inclusion of mood stabilizers in your treatment plan.