Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Highs and Lows Of Manic Depression

The moods of a manic depressive person are like that of a pendulum swinging from one extreme to the other. As the term itself implies, manic depression is a psychological disorder wherein a person has bouts of mania and depression. Manic depression is associated with extreme mood swings and sudden behavioral changes. In one instance, a person may be extremely buoyant and talkative, has rapid flight of ideas and heightened energy that may lead to decreased amounts of sleep. This manic phase of manic depression can last for hours, days, weeks or months, and it is a racing, giddy state of elevated mood.

This hypomanic episode can present itself as a strange behavior, as although it can pass for sociability, the hypomanic person can sometimes exhibit aggressive behavior. A person usually has a turgid and aggrandized self image when in the hypomanic state. When deeply traced, though, the person usually has fragile self-esteem Another phase of manic depression, also called bipolar disorder is the major depressive episode. This phase basically has a greater drawback as a person's enthusiasm for life takes a back seat. In the major depressive episode, a person deviates himself from his peers and his family and his normal activities are put to a halt.

This might also strike as an unusual behavior as the depressive person isolates himself from his external environment. In the depressive episode of manic depression, a person's self-confidence is not only lacking, but is at an all time low at that. Whereas the hypomanic phase make a person "sociable" to some extent, the major depressive episode can be devastating and debilitating. Another episode of manic depression is the mixed episode, and as the term implies, it is a combination of both mania and depression. Manic depression is categorized as Bipolar I disorder and Bipolar II disorder. Bipolar I is categorically the hypomanic phase and this heightened mood can last from hours, days, weeks or months.

Bipolar II disorder is the depressive episode with at least one hypomanic episode. Bipolar II disorder is more incapacitating as this category of manic depression gravely hampers a person's social life and elicits erratic mood changes. Anybody can potentially suffer from manic depression as it is not exclusive to any specific age bracket. Manic depression episodes initially occur during late adolescence or early adulthood but there are cases wherein children and the elderly have bouts of manic depression. Neither is bipolar disorder confined to a particular gender, race or class although manifestations between men and women are generally different. With proper consultation, medication and therapy, manic depression can be treated.

Once diagnosed, the medications can regulate the mood swings and the accompanying psychotherapy can trace and unravel the psychological causes of the manic depressive bouts. As psychiatry also trace mental disorders to a chemical imbalance in the brain, certain antipsychotic drugs are generally prescribed to normalize the imbalance and neutralize the extreme mood swings. Psychotherapy on the other hand allows the patient to express and relieve his anxieties. Regular therapy is the flushing out of psychic garbage until eventually the patient comes to terms with himself. Manic depression must never be left untreated as it can result to personality deterioration and eventually dysfunctionality.

Family and peer support are also essential for a person to overcome manic depression. Psychological disturbances can be curable. Advances in psychiatry as well as community education and awareness have made it possible for those with mental disorders to live a full and happy life.

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