How to Help Patients with Bipolar I Disorder – Interview

How to Help Patients with Bipolar I Disorder – Interview


There are nearly 11 million adults in the U.S. living with bipolar disorder (I and II),1 a condition that causes periods of severe changes in mood, energy, and activity levels. Bipolar disorder is commonly misdiagnosed.2 Some patients report waiting 10 years before being accurately diagnosed and treated.3-6 In a survey of bipolar patients involved with National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association support groups, nearly 7 in 10 people with the condition were misdiagnosed at least once, consulting an average of 4 doctors. For 60 percent of these patients, the misdiagnosis was major depressive disorder (MDD).2

Bipolar I depression typically lasts at least two weeks and can be difficult to differentiate from MDD during diagnosis. If misdiagnosed with MDD, people may be given an antidepressant which, when taken as a monotherapy by someone with bipolar disorder, can induce a manic episode.7

Bipolar depression is an important contributor to long-term dysfunction for patients with bipolar I disorder due to psychosocial impairment, loss of work productivity, and high rates of substance abuse. Missed and delayed diagnosis is prevalent due to overlapping symptoms with MDD and other diagnoses.2

As October marks National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Andrew Cutler, an experienced psychiatrist and Matt, a husband and father of two with Bipolar I Depression as they discussed:

  • Matt’s journey with bipolar I depression and why getting a diagnosis can be challenging and complex
  • A new treatment option people living with bipolar I disorder can discuss with their doctors
  • How to approach conversations with a doctor if you feel you’re displaying symptoms of bipolar I disorder

See the entire interview here:

For more information, go to

About Andrew J. Cutler, MD

Andrew J. Cutler, MD is a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York. He works remotely from Lakewood Ranch, Florida. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Haverford College, and obtained his medical degree from the University of Virginia School of Medicine, where he was elected into the Alpha Omega Alpha honor medical society. Dr. Cutler completed his medical internship and residencies in both Internal Medicine and Psychiatry at the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center, where he also did research training in dopamine receptor pharmacology. He is board certified in Internal Medicine by the American Board of Internal Medicine and in Psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He is also a Certified Physician Investigator from the Association of Clinical Research Professionals.

Dr. Cutler has been conducting clinical research since 1993, and has been a Principal Investigator on over 400 clinical trials in a variety of central nervous system and medical indications, focusing on ADHD, bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia in children, adolescents, and adults. He was an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Chicago before moving to Florida and founding the Florida Clinical Research Center (FCRC) in 1998. He sold FCRC to Meridien Research in 2016. He retired from Meridien as Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer in 2019. He has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific articles and has presented more than 300 abstracts and posters at scientific meetings around the world. He is a peer reviewer for several prominent medical journals and has served on several editorial boards. He has chaired or attended over 250 medical and scientific advisory boards, delivered more than 3,000 national and international pharmaceutical promotional talks, and over 300 continuing medical education and Grand Rounds presentations. He has participated in more than 50 national satellite TV medical education broadcasts and led more than 200 national medical web conferences. Dr. Cutler consults extensively with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and serves on the board of the Neuroscience Education Institute.

Dr. Cutler is a member of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the Florida Psychiatric Society and the American Medical Association. He is honored to be a Fellow of both the APA and the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine. He has received many professional honors and awards, including the Merck Award for outstanding medical scholarship, the University of Virginia Pride Award for outstanding patient care, the William Sorum Award from the APA, the Outstanding Congressional Fellow Award from the 103rd US Congress, a citation from Florida Hospital for outstanding patient care, and the Distinguished Clinical Professional Award from the Central Florida Mental Health Association.

1.       National Comorbidity Survey (NSC). Harvard Medical School. php. Data Table 1: Accessed October 3, 2019.

2.       McIntyre RS, Calabrese JR. Bipolar depression: the clinical characteristics and unmet needs of a complex disorder. Curr Med Res Opin. 2019. doi: 10.1080/03007995.2019.1636017

3.       Baldessarini RJ, Tondo L, Baethge CJ, Lepri B, Bratti M. Effects of treatment latency on response to maintenance treatment in manic depressive disorders. Bipolar Disord. 2007;9(4):386-393.

4.       Baethge C, Tondo L, Bratti I et al. Prophylaxis latency and outcome in bipolar disorders. Can J Psychiatry. 2003;48(7):449-457.

5.       Suppes T, Leverich GS, Keck PE, et al. The Stanley Foundation Bipolar Treatment Outcome Network. II. Demographics and illness characteristics of the first 261 patients. J Affect Disord. 2001;67(1-3):45-59.

6.       Hirschfeld R, Calabrese J, Weissman M, et al. Screening for bipolar disorder in the community. J Clin Psychiatry. 2003;64(1):53-59.

7.       Bobo WV. The diagnosis and management of bipolar I and II disorders: clinical practice update. Mayo Clin Proc. 2017; 92(10): 1532-155.


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MMN Interview Blogger-Cynthia Tait

Cynthia Tait

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