Manic depression, also known as bipolar disorder, is a serious mental illness characterised by alternating episodes of depression and mania. People with manic depression experience profound sadness, loss of energy, and a lack of interest in life during depressive episodes, as well as elevated mood, excessive enthusiasm, and impulsive behaviour during manic episodes. In this article, you will learn more about the symptoms of manic depression and effective treatment methods.
What is manic depression?
Manic depression is a condition that comprises two extreme emotional states: depression and mania. During depressive episodes, individuals affected by this disorder may experience deep sadness, loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness, problems with concentration, and suicidal thoughts. On the other hand, manic episodes are characterised by elevated mood, increased activity, excessive self-confidence, risky behaviour, and difficulties in maintaining healthy social relationships.
Symptoms of mania
During manic episodes, individuals with manic depression may exhibit a range of characteristic symptoms. Here are some of them:
- Excessive enthusiasm and excitement: Individuals experiencing a manic episode often feel an unrestrained enthusiasm and excitement. They may have an excessive amount of energy, feel restless, and have difficulty sitting still.
- Increased self-confidence: During a manic episode, individuals with manic depression may have an inflated sense of self-confidence and the belief that they’re invincible. They may make risky decisions and engage in actions that would normally be considered inappropriate.
- A decreased need for sleep: During manic episodes, individuals with manic depression often experience a decreased need for sleep. They may feel fully energised and satisfied even after a short amount of sleep.
- Uncontrolled spending and impulsive behaviour: Manic episodes often lead to impulsive behaviour, such as uncontrolled spending and risky financial decisions. Individuals with manic depression may struggle to control these impulses and make prudent decisions.
- Impaired concentration: During a manic episode, individuals may have difficulty concentrating and focusing on a single task. Their thoughts may be scattered, which affects their ability to function effectively and make decisions.
- Increased physical activity: Heightened physical activity is also a common symptom of manic episodes. Individuals with manic depression may exhibit an uncontrollable drive to engage in activities, regardless of their fatigue or the consequences of their behaviour.
It’s important to understand that the symptoms of manic depression can vary depending on the person. Not everyone experiences all these symptoms, and the severity and duration of episodes may differ. If you suspect that you or someone close to you is suffering from manic depression, it’s important to consult a medical professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
The causes of manic depression
The causes of manic depression are not clearly defined, but there are several factors that may contribute to the development of this disorder. Here are some of them:
Genetic factors: There's a certain risk of inheriting manic depression. Individuals who have parents or siblings with this disorder are more likely to develop manic depression themselves.
Neurochemical factors: A deficiency or dysfunction of certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, may contribute to the development of manic depression. These neurotransmitters play a significant role in the regulation of moods and emotions.
Environmental factors: Stressful life events, such as the loss of a loved one, divorce, financial problems, or work-related issues, can trigger episodes of manic depression in susceptible individuals.
Hormonal issues: Certain hormonal disorders, such as thyroid dysfunction or hormonal imbalances related to the endocrine system, can influence the onset of manic depression. Changes in hormone levels can affect mood regulation and trigger depressive or manic episodes.
Substance abuse and addiction: Substance abuse, including alcohol, drugs, or prescription medicine, can increase the risk of developing manic depression. These substances can disrupt the chemical balance in the brain and lead to intensified depressive or manic symptoms.
Other mental disorders: Individuals with other mental disorders, such as anxiety disorders, personality disorders, or schizophrenia, may have a higher risk of developing manic depression. The influence of these disorders on the increased risk of manic depression stems from various factors, such as genes, environmental factors, and neurochemical disorders.
How do you cope with manic depression?
It’s important to understand that manic depression is an illness that requires professional help and treatment. Here are a few effective methods that can help those with manic depression:
For manic depression, a doctor may recommend the use of mood-stabilising medications, such as antidepressants, anticonvulsants, or medications that regulate neurotransmitter levels. Regularly taking prescribed medication can help control symptoms and prevent relapses.
Individual or group therapy can be very helpful in treating manic depression. Psychotherapy allows individuals with this disorder to express their emotions, understand the roots of the problem, and learn healthy coping strategies for managing symptoms.
Regular meetings with a psychiatrist or psychotherapist are crucial in the process of treating manic depression. Monitoring symptoms, adjusting treatment, and providing emotional support are incredibly important for achieving and maintaining emotional stability.
A healthy lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle can have a positive impact on managing manic depression. Regular physical activity, adequate sleep, and balanced meals undoubtedly contribute to alleviating symptoms.