Also called "bipolar mood disorder", manic depression is a very serious disease of brain associated with extreme shifts in moods, body functioning and behavior. Just a few years back, manic depression was glorified as a trait so common with many well known artists, composers and brilliant writers; but in reality, thousands of lives have been lost or their career ruined due to this strange disease. An extreme case of manic depression has even lead to many people committing suicide. This debilitating disease affects almost 3 million Americans and 1.5 millions Europeans, and both men and women are equally troubled by this disease.
Manic depression usually starts occurring during early teenage or even during childhood; the symptoms are manifested by irregular cycles or episodes of maniac tendencies, depression and mood swing, often disrupting normal daily life. Three different types of episodes are associated with manic depression and each one of them is quite different from the other. Episodes of depression signify a persistent sad or withdrawn mood, while an episode of mania may show frequent or abnormal mood swings from one extreme to another. However, a mixed or combined state that consists of both mania and depression is probably the most difficult stage to manage and treat.
Signs and symptoms which occur during an episode of mania are:
1. Enhanced energy, high state of excitability and increased activity
2. Feelings of euphoria, greatness and generally excited mood
3. Gets irritable even at the smallest of incidences.
4. Lightening speed talk, thoughts and changing ideas.
5. Lack of concentration accompanied by less sleep.
6. Feelings of grandeur and false belief in their own capacity.
7. Lack of a good judgment
8. Unusual behavior that is easily recognizable.
9. Easily provoked, excessive intrusion in other's affairs, state of aggression and angry.
10. Provocative, intrusive, or aggressive behavior
Signs and symptoms which occur during an episode of depression are:
1. Frequent sad, melancholic or empty mood
2. Feelings of dejection, guilt, or helplessness
3. Progressive loss of interest in day to day activities.
4. Depleted energy levels and feeling of tiredness.
5. Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decision
6. Suicidal talk and tendencies
During early part of the illness these episodes are usually separated by a period of no symptoms and the patient usually feels very good and behaves normal. However, when five or more episodes of illness occur within a year, rapid manic depression sets in and becomes too frequent, leading to extreme consequences. This is also sometimes called a state of rapid recycling, when the degeneration of body and mind sets in at a rapid rate.
A chronic and severe manic depression may lead the patient to a stage of psychosis, when typical symptoms like hallucinations and delusions occur, and such a stage is probably an offshoot of highly dangerous, Schizophrenia. Many people with manic depression will get immense help from a sustained level of treatment and good results are usually achieved by stabilizing their mood swings and other associated symptoms. Highly improvised drugs and medicines like Lithium, atypical antipsychotic medications and high-potency benzodiazepine medications are usually prescribed to patients, depending on the history and intensity of the symptoms. Apart from drugs and medicines, patients are also recommended session of psychotherapy and behavioral therapy.