What is Manic Depression?
In the past it used to be known as manic depression, a name which sums up the two components of the condition, but now the name bipolar is used. This new name still alludes to the dual nature of the condition. Those who suffer from it have mood swings that are out of their control, leading them to heady highs and terrible lows.
What are the Causes of Bipolar Disorder?
The science behind mental illnesses is still young and complete understanding of the illness may only be achieved through the use of multiple disciplines. There are of course biological causes such as important neurotransmitters being imbalanced in the brain, and of course psychological issues that may compound the problems and cause more harm. The brain and the mind have natural systems in place to regulate the mood of the person and when they fail, such problems as depression and bipolar disorder are the result.
The duality of the condition means there are a minimum of two different factors to look out for when seeking the symptoms. Someone who is in the manic phase and having a manic episode will be subject to a certain euphoria, have an abundance of energy, their thoughts will be racing, they may even talk very fast in order to keep up with their thoughts. They might have unrealistic beliefs, increased appetite for sex, frivolous behaviors such as gambling, or be aggressive, or consume more alcohol or take drugs. While many feel on top of the world during a manic episode it also has its dangers and it's easy for savings to be lost, huge debts to be wracked up, and relationships wrecked during this phase.
The lows of depression are of course equally concerning and involve the usual worries that come with normal depression. Those with bipolar depression will find themselves sad, feeling listless, having little energy, and of course are at risk of committing suicide or harming themselves in other ways. People also self medicate with substances.
Even specialists have trouble identifying bipolar symptoms from normal every day behaviours. To diagnose the condition they therefore look back retrospectively on a person's life and have them discuss the things that happened and record the various symptoms. These are then collated on a scale.
It's possible that once the condition is identified for professionals to treat it effectively. Not only are their drugs available, but also humanistic treatments such as counselling or support groups. Psychologists can help to identify the triggers of a mood change and allow enable the person to learn how to avoid the problems such mood swings cause.
The good news is that those who face their problem and seek treatment have a better chance of preventing their illness from getting worse. Early treatment appears to have a stabilizing effect on the disorder. It's something that will always stay with a person, but there's no reason for it to prevent a normal life.