Manic Depression-Bipolar Disorder-Is this the Worst Type Of Depression?

famous people with bipolarManic depression or bipolar depression could be considered as one of the worst types of depression that people usually suffer from, however, the degree and depth of the depression would vary from individual to individual. Characterized by sudden and extreme changes in mood states, Manic depression, now referred to as Bipolar Disorder, is said to be called due to the presence of both states The manic state = mania refers to the ‘ups’ or a state of euphoria while the depression refers to the ‘downs’ state.
So when do we know that we are suffering from an illness or just expressing altering states in our feelings? When these so-called mood swings have gone to the utmost extreme levels where there are presentation of moods that do not match the circumstance the person is experiencing. For example an individual may change from being calm to extremely irritated by the simplest of things like not getting his favorite ice cream flavor which may have led to a complete over reaction. This may not be just a sign of a tantrum. It may actually be evidence of symptoms of bipolar disorder which may need further investigation if this is occurring on a regular basis. The so-called ‘manic’ or ‘ups’ in Manic depression are described as to be the times when a person suffering from bipolar disorder may experience overly high periods, consisting of heightened energy, a sudden outburst of euphoric mood, extreme irritability, racing thoughts in addition but not always evidence of aggressive behavior. The manic phase may also be where some individuals experience increased creativity. Some experience increased sex drive whilst other may express thought of grandeur. The presentation of signs and symptoms to vary from individual to individual and seem to enhance the characteristic of that individual. This may explain why some individuals may become aggressive and impulsive whilst others may become “saintly” and some experience spiritual experiences.

According to therapists, someone suffering from bipolar disorder may have manic ‘periods’ for longer than an hour or a day when an emotion tends to be short lives. Some individuals may experience euphoric states and elevated mood swings for as long as a week or longer depending on how this is managed and the impact that the mood state is having on their lives functionally and the people around them.
When it comes to the down swing in the cycle, it can and is experienced as similar symptoms to those who are suffering from actual depression or uni-polar (only one side of the mood spectrum). People who suffering bipolar disorder may actually experience episodes showing a depressed state of mind – a feeling of worthlessness and being unloved may start to corrupt the individual’s mind. Various symptoms, experiencing guilt, extreme sadness, anxiety attacks, feeling of not belonging, extreme pessimism and an obvious loss for pleasure. The depth of the depression can vary from individual to individual, however the medical management by introducing antidepressant medication has been understood to assist many people suffering with the effects of depression, however this should be monitored carefully by the psychiatrist to ensure that the medication doesn’t move the individuals moods too high into a manic state. This is why bipolar individuals are often treated with mood stabilisers (such as Sodium valproate or epilum and lithium bicarbinate) that work to manage both the highs and low extremes that are experienced in the mental condition.

An assessment from a psychiatrist is required to diagnose the presence or absence of manic depression or bipolar disorder. It is well understood to be a biological disorder affecting the balance of neurochemicals in the mind, so effective management from medication has been well understood to enable individual to manage the symptoms of the mania and depression and to minimise the impact that this is having on their lives and others around them. Once starting a medication regime, it may take some time for the medication to adjust into the individuals system and to take effect, however it is recommended that the medication not be stopped suddenly as this can trigger the likelihood of another manic depressant episode. The reason for this is that the brains chemicals have not had a chance to build up their ability to produce these neuro-chemicals naturally and have been relying on the synthesized supports from the treatment medication. Regular blood tests are standard medical management to test for sufficient treatment levels in the blood and to monitor the enzyme level and function of other organs (eg. the liver).

A proportion of people may also experience symptoms of psychosis being altered states of consciousness and perceptions of the world around them. This is more seen in the manic phase, however has also been see in significant states of depression. Psychosis may be experienced as unusual and illogical thinking which may lead to undertaking unusual activities or behaviours which could result in significant difficulties in their lives and their family members if not identified and supported. Bipolar disorder can be a serious disorder as there can be associated suicidal thinking  and behaviour in the depressive swing of the illness. Associated conditions with symptoms of anxiety can add to the traumatic experience that the person may be feeling and may increase impulsivity placing their lives at risk. It is important to seek medical support immediately to protect individuals who are expressing the presence of these behaviours as mental health medical teams are trained in supporting these individuals through these difficult times .

Biploar disorder has been understood to be a hereditary condition which does demonstrate positive links to other members of the family who may also have a history of mood swings, even if they were undiagnosed. Psychological therapy from cognitive behavioural therapy and social supports from providing education to the individuals family and support network have all been found positive in managing the lives of these individuals and enabling them to reach their potential.

People can be well managed and live very happy and successful lives if they are able to learn to understand the condition, integrate both medication and psycho-social lifestyle adjustments and have a supportive family and community network.

It is well understood that individuals who have been successful in being able to maintain this balance in their lives have proven themselves to have incredible minds and some have been able to tap into uncharted potential on a grand scale. Famous individuals who have demonstrated this include Winston Churchill, Richard Brandson and Stephen Fry to name a few.

Bipolar Disorder is a mental illness whereby depression and mania are experiences.

Bipolar Disorder is a mental illness whereby depression and mania are experiences.

Visit this link to read an interesting article that captures the Bipolar Mind perspective nicely and looks at both the up and down side of a glass half empty and a glass half full from the viewpoint of individuals who live with bipolar disorder. I think you will agree that it is a very interesting and positive read. Don’t miss this one.

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