Bipolar Manic Depression

2013 Bipolar Update

Bipolar Manic Depression

A bipolar manic depression disorder is a life-long severe mental illness which is characterized by recurring episodes of mania and depression. Bipolar disorder used to be referred to informally as Manic Depression, which is arguably a much more fitting description of the disease given how aptly it describes the mood swings of sufferers from the height of mania on the one hand, to the depths of depression on the other.

Based on the severity of the mood episodes experienced, the disorder is subdivided into Bipolar I; Bipolar II and Cyclothymia. This range is often described as the Bipolar spectrum.

The American Psychiatric Association define Bipolar I as being the most severe. Sufferers experience recurring episodes of both mania and depression, although in rare cases they may experience only manic episodes.

During a Bipolar manic episode, patients may be excessively happy, or irritable and easily angered; they may spend money far beyond their means; have sex with people they wouldn’t otherwise or follow extravagant, unrealistic plans. In extreme cases they may completely lose touch with reality, becoming delusional or even suffering from hallucinations, which can be confused with schizophrenia.

During a depressive phase, patients generally experience low mood and have little energy. They take no joy in daily activities, and very often have negative thoughts. Sufferers may become listless, have poor eye contact and appear tearful and dishevelled. There may also be feelings of despair, low self-esteem and guilt for which there is no apparent reason.

Most people are in their teens or early 20s when they first exhibit signs of Bipolar manic depression and sometimes these signs are initially dismissed as "growing pains" or normal teenage behaviour. While the exact cause of Bipolar manic depression is still not known, it does have a tendency to run in families, with over half of Bipolar I sufferers having at least one parent with some form of mood disorder.

Although living with Bipolar manic depression can be incredibly difficult for both sufferers and their families, it must be emphasised that the disease is treatable if the signs are recognized.

If you suspect that you or someone you know is suffering from Bipolar manic depression, you should ask for help immediately. The earlier the disease is caught and treated, the better your chances of getting and staying well. Effective Bipolar disorder treatment relieves symptoms; reduces the frequency and intensity of both manic and depressive episodes and restores your ability to function normally.

Many people with Bipolar disorder have happy family lives with satisfying relationships and successful careers. Living with Bipolar manic depression is not easy, but with the right treatment and the support of close friends and family, you can live a full and rich life while managing your symptoms.