Manic depression can be defined as an extended stage of mood swings. One may experience these mood swings from really high to very low degree. The high degree is known as manic and the lower as depressed.
Bipolar disorder is yet another name for manic depressive illness. This stage usually refers to as an individual's mood that shifts between different 'poles' of mania and depression.
Manic Depression is not something to be taken lightly. It is a serious disorder and needs serious professional and personal care.
Manic depression can affect both men and women. There is no specific age at which this disease usually starts. However, experts believe that the onset of this disease takes place in late adolescence.
This disorder can be found among people irrespective of their age, race, social classes and ethnic groups. Medical experts feel that this disease has a genetic link and even tends to run in the families.
The disease does not only affect the patient but also the person who attends to him or her. The immediate family circle is known to suffer a lot. Here are some of the symptoms related to this disorder:
a) Less amount of sleep required.
b) Increased energy; Restlessness; Increased activity
c) Poor Judgment; Euphoric mood (excessively high); Spending sprees
d) Abuse of drugs including cocaine, sleeping pills and alcohol
e) Shifting from one idea to another very frequently
f) Tendency to get distracted easily; Inability to concentrate well; Extreme irritability
g) Talking fast; Racing thoughts
h) Aggressive behavior; Intrusive behavior; Provocative behavior
i) Unrealistic beliefs in one's abilities and powers; Denial that anything is wrong
j) Lasting period of behavior that's quite different from usual
The symptoms for low or 'depressive' stage of manic depression:
a) Thoughts of death; Thoughts of suicide; Suicide attempts
b) Restlessness; Irritability
c) Feeling of hopelessness; Extreme pessimism
d) Sleeping too much; Inhibits to sleep or insomnia
e) Difficulty in concentrating; Lack of memory
f) Lack of energy; Loss of interest in pleasure activities
g) Change in appetite; Weight loss without making any efforts; Weight gain
h) Difficulty in making decisions; A feeling of fatigue
i) Feeling guilty; Feeling of worthlessness: Feeling of helplessness
j) Chronic pain; Symptoms in body not as a result of injury or illness
k) Long-lasting mood of moroseness; Empty mood; Anxiety that lasts long
There are several causes of manic depression. Here is a list of some of the causes that lead to manic depression:
a) Genetic factor
As discussed earlier, manic depression tends to run in families. Chromosomes tend to show genetic abnormalities.
b) Fast biological clock
Hypothalamus, the center of the brain shows a super fast biological 'clock'. The clock is actually a small cluster of nerves known as the supra chiasmatic nucleus or SCN. This works towards regulating an individual's daily cycle of life and affects waking and sleeping.
Patients of manic depression are known to have higher levels of vesicular monoamine transporter. It is a protein inside the brain that's known to regulate neurotransmitters.
Other causes include abnormal activity of brain and infectious agents such as viruses.