What is Brian Quinn’s view on depression?

This article will center on showing Brian Quinn’s view on depression. Aside from that, the article will explain who Brian Quinn is.

What is Brian Quinn’s view on depression? 

Brian Quinn is a clinical social worker from New York and started doing psychotherapy 45 years ago. He says that he thinks that the differential diagnoses between depressive disorder and bipolar disorder may be the most important thing when considering the type of treatment the patient will have.

He says that he began investigating his patients, noticing that the rate at which they were taking antidepressants was growing, but they weren’t really improving, and some of them were even getting worse. 

Through some research, he realized that this was happening because some of his 

patients had bipolar depression, which the antidepressants wouldn’t help with. And he says that this is not something that he developed, is something that is known in science. 

According to Brian Quinn, any person that can prescribe antidepressants will usually do so as soon as the person arrives at their office and informs them that they are going through symptoms of depression, without realizing deep down what is happening.

According to him, the problem is that saying someone has depression is not making a proper diagnosis, since depression is simply a collection of symptoms that can be related to multiple causes that are not taken under consideration, being bipolar disorder one of them, which can cause depression. 

In this context, he thinks professionals will often go from symptoms of depression to diagnosing depression, and then prescribing antidepressants, instead of thinking about the differential diagnosis, which means not only treating the symptoms of depression but also trying to understand what is causing the depression. 

That is because a depressive state can be a sign of many conditions. It can be related to major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and even schizophrenia. Brian Quinn wrote a book in which he discusses those themes deeply, the book is called “The Depression Sourcebook. 

According to him, mental health professionals need to keep an eye on this differential diagnosis since, for example, most people that will, later on, be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, will often start to manifest the condition through a depressive state. 

And this seems to create a problem with what is set on medical standards, especially on the DSM-V, which says that the person will only be diagnosed with bipolar disorder once they have gone through a manic episode. 

This will lead to the misdiagnosing of a lot of people since, for example, half of the teenagers, and young adults that are diagnosed with a severe depressive state at that moment in their lives were, in reality bipolar, and will go through a manic episode later on their life, especially if they have a daily history of the condition.

It is common, that went they go to the doctor for the first time, those teenagers, and young adults, get there with suicidal depression. Which usually is the first sign of bipolar disorder, and since they haven’t had a hypomanic, or hypomanic episode, they will be given antidepressants. 

This leaves us with the matter that a lot of people are being treated for conditions that are not the ones they have. Which can be extremely dangerous. Brian Quinn says that many studies have observed that the use of improper medication will not only make it harder for the person to improve.

It will often cause what Brian Quinn calls a stiffening in the course of the condition. And it is a known fact that antidepressants can make people with bipolar disorder become manic, but not only that, it will also lead them to have more depressive episodes over time 

For people with mixed bipolar disorder, the use of antidepressants can lead people to even have a higher risk of suicide. And that is one more reason why mental health professionals need to differentiate the two.

As a way to do so, Brian Quinn suggests that professionals should know that classical depression is much more about psychomotor slowing than the person’s mood. When a patient is in a classic depressive state, they will probably take longer to respond to things in therapy, and they need to be encouraged to speak.

 But when a patient is in mania, it is more connected to psychomotor excitation, which can lead to difficulty sleeping, racing thoughts, being overly verbal, and inability to relax. In therapy sessions, those will be the clients that are difficult to interrupt.

Talking therapists need to know that because they tend to be the ones that are the closest to the patient, and are also the ones that are more frequently with them. It is also important to know how to distinguish both because being mistreated can make it virtually impossible for the patient to improve through therapy.

According to Brian Quinn, to make a proper diagnosis, the mental health professional will need, not only to look at the DSM-V, which will only discuss symptoms. Because the symptoms are not always specific. They should also look to genetics, so take into consideration the patient’s family history beyond the obvious.

Another thing that should be taken into consideration in the course of the illness, especially the age the person had when it started. 

And finally, the professional should know about the previous responses the patient had to antidepressants. When they haven’t felt an improvement from it, or it made them worse, it may be a sign of something other than classical depression. 

Brian Quinn discusses the care for the patients, and the diagnoses of depression in an important manner. He tries to show how patients should be seen for more than their symptoms. And through that, they may be better understood, and cared for, without the risk of making them worse.

What is Brian Quinn’s view on depression?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): What is Brian Quinn’s view on depression?  

What are the most common symptoms of depression? 

Depression will cause the person to feel intense sadness. It will also make them lose interest, even in things they used to love. A person with depression will often have a more negative view of the world, and themselves. Because of that, their sense of self-esteem, and self-worth will go down.

Being depressed will also change your sleeping and eating patterns, and cause you to feel empty, hopeless, helpless, and more irritable. When depressed, your energy levels will go down, making you more fatigued, and you will have trouble focusing.

It will also make you more isolated, which will lead you to avoid social gatherings. When you are depressed, you may experience more pains and headaches, and have crying spells. And in some cases, people can turn to self-harm and have thoughts of death, and suicidal thoughts.

What is bipolar disorder? 

Bipolar disorder is a condition that a while ago was known as manic depression. Its main characteristics lay in the mood swings that the person will go through. 

When a person has bipolar disorder, they will go from emotional lows, which are often called the depressive moments, to high, known as the periods of hypomania, or if they are more intense, mania.

During low moods, you may experience some of the common symptoms of depression. And when in mania, the person may become more euphoric and can act uncharacteristically. It is during this period that people will often be impulsive, and act in ways that can lead them to trouble, like putting themselves into debt.

It varies from one person to the next how often they will experience these swings. And even though there is no cure, with treatment people can reach a stable life. There are a few forms of bipolar disorder. It can be Bipolar I, which means that the person had one manic episode that can happen before or after a depressive episode.

It can also be Bipolar II, in which the person has experienced one major depressive episode and one hypomania episode. Cyclothymic disorder is one in which the person has had at least two years, or one when they were younger, dealing with periods of hypomania, and depression.

There is also a bipolar disorder that is often related to other things, it can be a bipolar disorder that comes from drug, or alcohol abuse, or even another medical condition.

Do depression and bipolar disorder have a cure?

No, neither depression nor bipolar disorder has a cure. That is because both of them will have genetic factors to it, which won’t change even if a person gets treated. And especially bipolar disorder, which is a condition that will cause the person to be in constant support.

That is because bipolar disorder can lead to moments of emotional instability, such as periods of mania, and depression. The person will often need professional help to deal with those moments, so they don’t let them have a huge impact on their lives.

As for depression, the person will often experience one episode of depression, and with the proper treatment, it can go into remission. Which will lead the person to feel joy, and regain interest in things again. But with depression, people should also focus on their mental health, as a way to prevent future depressive episodes.

What are the forms of depression? 

Depression can happen in four forms. It can be mild, moderate, major, and even persistent. As the name says, the first one presents itself with mild symptoms, which go on for a short period, and people can usually cope by changing their lifestyle.

Moderate depression begins to affect the person’s life because the symptoms are a little more intense. To treat it, people will often need therapy, and in rare cases, people will need medication.

In major depression, the common symptoms of depression are so intense that they can make the simplest things such as getting out of bed impossible. And aside from the common symptoms, major depression can cause the person to experience hallucinations, and become delusional.

To treat it, it is important that the person goes to therapy, and takes medication. The same is done when someone is experiencing persistent depression, which can go on as long as 5 years, leading the person to go through swings of mild, and major depression.

What are suicidal thoughts?

Suicidal thoughts are ones in which the person considers ending their own life. It can happen in two manners, a more passive one, or a more active one. In the first, the person will have fleeting thoughts about ending their lives, but will not have a concrete plan about it.

As for the more active suicidal thought, it leads the person to plan how they would do it. In it, the person will begin to arrange how, where, and when they would do it. Leading to the most dangerous type of suicidal thoughts.


This article showed the view Brian Quinn has on depression while comparing it to the clinical view of the condition. Aside from that, the article explained what depression is.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write them in the section below.


Video 1