Manic Depressive Illness, also known as Bipolar Disorder, is not something that you experience once and then snap out of. It is with you all your life, can make your life an emotional roller coaster of hell, and is something you have to learn to live with.
As human beings, it's normal for us to swing from happiness to sadness and back again depending on the circumstances. What separates this behavior from manic depressive illness is the intensity of the swings. It's not unusual for the mood of a person with manic depressive illness to swing from giddy exhilaration to the deepest suicidal depression. It's trying to control and live with those extremes that can make life very difficult for these people.
The symptoms of bipolar disorder usually arrive sometime in the late adolescent years. It can be extremely difficult to diagnose because it arrives at precisely the same time that hormonal and other factors are affecting them. Even normal teenagers' emotions can swing wildly from one moment to the next.
The keys to living with manic depressive illness are to 1) get diagnosed early and 2) get proper treatment. Bipolar disorder, once diagnosed, is normally treated with a combination of mood stabilizers and therapy.
Mood stabilizers are psychiatric medications developed to stabilize the extreme mood shifts from mania and depression in those suffering from manic depression or bipolar disorder. Popular mood stabilizers are Lithium, Valproic acid, Lamotrigine, and Carbamazepine. A variety of mood stabilizers are constantly undergoing clinical trials in an attempt to find the best treatment possible for manic depression.
Before a medication can be advertised as being effective for a certain disease, it must be approved by the FDA. However, just because a medication does not have FDA approval does not mean that it is ineffective. It could simply be in trials or it could be that money is not available to do long term clinical trials. The best thing is to find a doctor or health provider that you trust and follow their recommendations.
Therapy, for many people, has an undeserved negative connotation. They feel that they'll be stigmatized or viewed as crazy if they seek psychiatric help. But, for many people it can literally be a godsend.
Manic depression therapy treatment can be personalized or can take place in a group setting. Therapy can be very helpful in helping people understand themselves, understand their emotional swings, and understand that they have some control over this illness. Therapy can help them realize that they do not have to be an innocent bystander in their own life.
In the best cases, with the right treatment and medications, those suffering from bipolar disorder can manage to live an almost normal life. The more difficult cases may require hospital stays of various lengths to treat the problem.
Manic depression is an illness that affects millions of people. The best way to help those suffering from it is to bring it out of the closet and help them get the treatment that they need.