Bipolar depression syndrome or manic-depression disorder is basically a mood disorder characterized by an elevation of energy level, cognition and mood with or without depressive episodes. For elevated moods, they are referred to as mania. For milder moods, they are referred to as hypomania. Persons who have bipolar depression usually experience depressive episodes or sometimes mixed episodes of moods that feature both mania and hypomania. These episodes are usually separated by having normal moods. In some cases, there is a fast shift between mania, hypomania and normal moods; this is known as the rapid cycling. When extreme manic episodes are left untreated, they can lead to delusions and hallucinations.
There are different causes of depression. One cause is through heredity. Although studies made were inconsistent and the results of test were not replicated. Recent studies found that different genes from different families may also cause depression. Offspring from old parents are also at risk of having this condition due to increase new genetic mutations.
Life events and environmental factors often trigger bipolar disorder syndrome and that genetic disposition of individuals may interact with psychological variables of individuals. There are many instances that prove that personal relationships and events in life can trigger depression. There were also findings that about thirty to fifty percent of individuals diagnosed experienced traumatic experiences during childhood.
Abnormalities in the structure and function of some brain circuits can also trigger bipolar depression as hypothesized by researchers. They have found out that there are differences in the structures of the amygdala, prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. Recent research in Japan suggests that the dysfunctional mitochondria in the brain may also play a part in triggering bipolar depression.
Bipolar depression can be diagnosed both by reporting own experiences and reports given by relatives, friends, co-workers and anyone close to the person being diagnosed. This is then followed up by an assessment of behavior observed by clinical practitioners. Usually, lithium carbonate or lamotrigine, are prescribed as mood stabilizers. Lamotrigine is for the prevention of depression and lithium is prescribed to lessen suicidal tendencies.
Although very disabling, persons with this kind of disorder can live a normal life as long as they are taking medications. But to have a normal life, both prognosis and diagnosis should be accurate.