Bipolar or manic depression is a brain condition that is characterized by extreme changes in mood, thoughts, energy, and ability to function. The symptoms of this condition that most people with depression are going through are different from the usual ups and downs. Actually, they are more severe and can result in damage to jobs, relationships, school performance, and worse, suicide. Fortunately, bipolar or manic depression is treatable and those who have recovered from this disabling condition can have full and productive lives.
The reason why Bipolar Manic Depression is called as such is because a person with this condition has mood that can alternate between the poles of mania, or highs and depression, or lows. The length of this change in mood, or sometimes called mood swings, may last for hours, days, weeks, or months, depending on the person’s reaction to depression.
Bipolar or manic depression can cause dramatic change of mood, which is from extreme high and/or irritable to sad and hopelessness, then back again, usually with normal mood in between. The periods of highs and lows are called episodes of mania and depression. Here are some of the symptoms of mania or manic episodes
Increased or high energy
Racing thoughts and talking very fast
Easily gets distracted
Sleeps for only a few hours
Increased sexual drive
Behaves differently from the usual and denies that nothing is wrong
A manic event is diagnosed if high mood occurs most of the day, almost everyday, for a week or more with three or more of the other symptoms. If the mood is irritable, four more additional symptoms must be present to be diagnosed.
Here are some of the symptoms of depression
Overwhelming and lasting feeling of unhappiness, anxiety, or empty mood
Feeling of hopelessness or pessimism
Difficulty remembering, making decisions
Too much, too little, or broken sleep
Significant change in appetite resulting to loss or gain of weight
Thoughts of suicide or death
Feeling of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
Restlessness, or irritability
A depressive episode can be diagnosed if five or more of the above symptoms last most of the day, almost everyday, for a period of two weeks or more.
Moderate to mild level of mania is called hypomania, in which may feel good to the person who is experiencing it and may also be associated with good functioning and enhanced productivity. If not treated immediately, hypomania may become severe mania and can switch to depression.
Some episodes of mania or depression include psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations and delusions. The psychotic symptoms in bipolar disorder have the tendency to reflect the extreme mood state. For example, delusion of richness, like believing that you’re wealthy, may occur during mania; or delusion of guilt or hopelessness, like believing that you are ruined and broke, may appear during depression. People who are suffering from bipolar or manic depression who happen to have psychotic symptoms are occasionally and incorrectly diagnosed as having schizophrenia.
Manic Depression vs Bipolar