Manic depression is a disorder that is characterized by mood swings ranging from elation to depression so severe that the patient can only think of suicide. It is also known as bipolar disorder and it can be so disabling that the patient cannot function normally in social or professional settings. It can be treated once properly diagnosed by a medical doctor and with care and patience, patients can move on to live a productive life. Manic depression cycles between two states: mania and depression.
What are the symptoms of the mania state?
A manic episode is where the patient experiences happiness and enjoyment that can last for a week or longer. This mood lasts all day, every day during this episode and it can be characterized by three more symptoms. Increased activity and energy, euphoric moods, and increased sex drive are just some of the more positive attributes of this state. Irritability, racing thoughts out of control, the inability to concentrate, talking too dast, drug or alcohol abuse, and poor judgement are the negative side of the state. When three or more of these symptoms are present, the patient can be considered in a manic state. Hypomania is a mild to moderate episode, leaving the patient feeling good and being able to be productive. It is a dangerous and misleading state and if left untreated can send the patient suffering manic depression into a deeper depression than before.
What are the symptoms of depressive state?
On the opposite side of the coin is the depressive state of manic depression. Like the manic state, it can last from a day to more than two weeks. Five symptoms are usually present when a patient is in this state including anxiousness, feeling as if their life is empty, hopelessness, worthlessness, loss of interest in things they used to enjoy, fatigue, and more. Chronic pain with no apparent cause is another common symptom for people suffering manic depression and when it is left untreated, the patient could slip into suicidal tendencies. When this happens, immediate medical attention should be sought out.
How is manic depression diagnosed and treated?
Through a series of psychological and medical testing, a doctor can help a person determine if they are suffering from manic depression. These tests include a physical and lengthy discussion about the symptoms the patient has been experiencing. The patient may be referred to a psychological expert for more treatment and testing to help find the root of the problem and the proper treatment plan.
Manic depressives can find relief and live a productive life by working with their doctor on a treatment plan designed specifically for them. They will have to work at it for the rest of their lives as short-term treatments will not cure the disorder. Medication such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and antipsychotics may be prescribed. Psychotherapy will help patients learn how to change their behaviour, show them that they are not alone, and can even guide friends and family members in helping the patient and themselves understand what they are suffering. If the depression is severe enough and there is danger to the patient, the patient's doctor may recommend a brief hospitalization.
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