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Recognizing the Signs of Manic Depression

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manic depressive disorder

Manic depressive disorder is characterized by alternating periods of manic and depressive moods.

The fast paced, high technology society of today can drive most anyone to bouts of moodiness from time to time. When moodiness, in terms of mood swings, takes on a life of its own within a person’s demeanor, a manic depression disorder may be the cause. According to Ohio State University-Wexner Medical Center, as many as 5.7 million American adults suffer from manic depression disorder in any given year.

As with any mental disorder, the symptoms of manic depression disorder can greatly disrupt a person’s life in a variety of ways. Recognizing the signs of manic depression is the first step towards getting the type of treatment you or someone you know desperately needs.

The Big Picture Perspective

Someone who has infrequent contact with a person exhibiting manic depression symptoms will most likely have a difficult time spotting the signs of the disorder. Unlike the occasional mood swing, someone affected by manic depression or bipolar disorder experiences alternating periods of extreme changes in mood. A person may exhibit manic behavior symptoms for a month or more, and then switch over to depression for the following month or so.

Considering the somewhat long time-frames for each “mood,” friends, family and co-workers are more likely to have a big picture perspective on a person’s overall personality display. Bipolar conditions exist as chronic and serious medical conditions often requiring a combination of medication and psychotherapy treatment. While the cause for the condition remains unknown, researchers suspect a single gene may be responsible. This means, manic depression disorder is likely to run in families as an inherited trait.

Symptoms

As with any other type of mental disorder, the types of symptoms displayed can vary from person to person. In general, someone affected by manic depression will experience episodes of mania and episodes of depression with markedly different symptoms occurring within each episode.

Common signs associated with manic episodes include –

  • Increase in physical activity
  • More talkative
  • Feelings of grandeur
  • Reduced sleep times
  • Increased sex drive
  • Unusually “high” or euphoric
  • Unusually poor judgment
  • Unusually poor decision-making abilities
  • Increased aggression
  • Indulging in pleasurable activities with no concern for consequences

Common signs associated with depression episodes include –

  • Crying
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Ongoing feelings of anxiety, sadness or apathy
  • Low energy level
  • Problems concentrating
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • No interest in normally enjoyable activities
  • Suicidal thoughts and/or feelings
  • Suicide attempts

Manic Depression Effects

The “highs” and “lows” characteristic of manic depression can wreak havoc in a person’s personal and/or professional life. During manic episodes, feelings of grandeur bring on unrealistic notions of self-confidence that can place a person in dangerous or hostile situations. Manic symptoms appearing at the workplace can jeopardize a person’s job status, while poor judgment and decision-making can ultimately ruin a family’s finances.

Episodes of depression may see the same person unable to go to work, which can also jeopardize employment status. Low energy levels can make it difficult to meet everyday family obligations and eventually damage personal relationships. Many people in this condition contemplate suicide on a repeated basis making the risk of a suicide attempt that much more likely.