Bipolar Disorder also known as manic depression is a disorder that falls into the family of depression or mood disorders. Mood disorders effect how a person feels and is totally different to a disorder such as schizophrenia that make it hard for a person to distinguish whats real from what isn't.
Mental disorders or illnesses are not the type of problems that a person can easily overcome, they are not something that they asked for. They can't be overcome by willpower because they are problems that effect the brain. With proper treatment a person suffering with a mental illness such as manic depression can learn to control their symptoms and regain their quality of life.
Manic depression is an illness or disorder that affects a persons mood, one moment they can have a greatly elevated mood ('Manic') followed by a period of feeling low ('Depression'). Its perfectly normal for someone to have high and low moods but someone suffering from manic depression experiences greatly exaggerated highs and lows. Because manic depression is a chronic condition these episodes may come and go but they never truly go away untreated.
Someone in a manic phase of their depression may have a very high self-esteem, they may take risks that they would not normally take such as abusing drugs and alcohol or driving in a reckless manner. They may spend money in a way they wouldn't usually and its not uncommon for them to have a higher than usual sex drive.
Manic depression may also make someone suffer from sleep deprivation making them seem angry or irritable, this is due to them having an increased energy level making them feel high.
A person in the depressive stage of their illness is vastly different from the manic stage in that they suffer from feelings of hopelessness, guilt or even wanting to die. A change in appetite, a decrease in energy and an increase in the ability to make decisions can occur. Stomach aches and headaches is also a common part of the depressive state of Manic Depression.
In the United States more that 15% of all illnesses are mental illnesses. This equates to more that all forms of cancer or problems associated with drug and alcohol addiction. If you know of someone that has been diagnosed with manic depression then they are in good company. It is estimated that around two to 4 percent of the worlds population of 222 million suffer from some form of manic depression.
Treatment of manic depression.
Its not common knowledge but there is no cure for manic depression, but the symptoms can be treated and controlled by the use of medication. Acute symptoms caused by severe episodes of mania or depression are treated with some specific medication whilst other medication is used to prevent future episodes from occurring. These types of medications are referred to as 'maintanance threrapy'.
In addition to medication, people with manic depression can benefit from psychotherapy as part of their treatment process. The therapy process is good because it can make someone come to terms with their illness and see exactly what it means for them. Because of this, someone can better understand how their illness or disorder effects their relationships with their family and friends.
If the person undergoing treatment is having a depressive episode the therapy may help them to adopt some thought processes that are positive instead of the negative ones that they have that make them depressed. They may be able to recognise when a manic or depressive episode is starting and seek out the appropriate help quickly. If other family members attend the therapy too they will better understand the disorder and may too be able to help in the future.
Manic depression is a chronic but treatable mental illness. Getting proper treatment is key to having a good quality of life.