Manic depression is characterised as extreme mood changes which can happen gradually or have rapid onset, a person suffering with manic depression can therefore be fine one minute and feeling extremely low the next or they could have an ok day and feel good about themselves and then wake the next morning with a completely different outlook on life, feeling very gloomy and wondering "what's the point in getting up today". This at first glance may not sound like a serious disorder but it is a recognised depressive disorder and if left untreated can quite easily lead to something much more serious including life threatening issues.
As with most depressive disorders the exact cause of manic depression is not known but extensive research points to it being a chemical imbalance in the brain.
The symptoms and severity of manic depression can vary widely from person to person and is therefore a difficult condition to correctly diagnose. It is very important to see a doctor for diagnosis if you think you or someone you know may be suffering from manic depression, it is not a condition which can be self diagnosed or self treated.
Listed here are some symptoms which may be common to a majority of sufferers, not everyone will have all of these symptoms of course, some people will only get one or two of the symptoms listed but may have different symptoms too which are unique to their condition.
- Unusual tiredness - no energy, lethargy not caused by lack of sleep.
- Hopelessness - feeling there is no point in doing even simple tasks
- Pessimistic - always seeing the worst of any situations
- Inability to sleep - insomnia with no recognisable reasons, i.e. a recent bereavement or loss
- Anxiety - feeling anxious with no apparent reason
- Emotionless - lack of any kind of feelings
- Weight loss - caused by lack of appetite or weight gain due to comfort eating
Symptoms of manic depression can begin to show in teenage years, is more common between the age of eighteen and twenty four and tends to develop less in the over thirties but can occur at any age in both men and women. Symptoms lasting two weeks or more should be treated as serious and medical help sought.
Manic depression is treatable, usually requiring a person to be prescribed an anti-depressant thought to be most suited to their individual symptoms and condition. A sufferer will also be offered psychological intervention in the form of talking therapy if their doctor believes they will benefit from this. If the symptoms are not too severe and don't interfere with day to day activities in a big way then therapy may be all that is needed and will be tried before medication. In all cases the advice of the doctor should be taken seriously to ensure a more serious disorder doesn't develop.
穢 Andrew Tudor Jones
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