Symptoms Of Manic Depression: Causes And Treatment Options

Manic depression is a devastating mental illness carrying high risk of suicidal tendency. Manic depression is now addressed by many as bipolar disorder. It is a mental illness, in which the person affected experiences extreme change in mood, behavior and thought process accompanied with high energy level. Manic depression is serious illness characterized by phases of depression and mania.

The symptoms of mania and depression may occur separately or may prevail simultaneously. Almost 2 percent of Americans are known to suffer from this illness. A person suffering from manic depression spends more time in depressive phase than in manic phase.

This leads to several morbid problems in patient’s life socially as well as in work place. There is more risk of suicide in depressive state of bipolar disorder.

Sign And Symptoms Of Manic Depression

The symptoms of manic depression are episodic. There may be symptom of extreme euphoria at one time which may be alternating with depression. The mood swing in manic depression is extremely debilitating and severe as compared to regular mood change that a normal person experiences in regular life. However, in between the mood becomes normal.

Normally such people show high level of energy, increased activity level, loss of sleep for days together, and changes in behavior.

Hallucinations and delusion are common.

Symptoms of mania: In this state person is ‘high’ in his mood.

  • Person feels as if he is on top of the world. He feels euphoric.
  • Thinks he can do anything that a normal person may not be able to do.
  • The judgment is impaired.
  • Weird feeling all the time.
  • Under performance in school and in workplace. Takes many works together but finishes none.
  • There is general feeling that what he does there is nothing wrong.
  • Increased sense of self esteem and self confidence.
  • Actions and talks are rapid and jumps from one event to another.

Because of his euphoric and exhilarated behavior person takes part in activities that may not be socially acceptable or they may sometimes be criminal. He has the habit to squander money, indulges in drugs and alcohol, and always is on the verge of doing something dangerous.

The above phase is mostly proceeded by phase of depression.

The symptoms of extreme depression are as follows:

  • Feeling of hopelessness and despair.
  • Person is extremely sad.
  • Cannot sleep for many nights- insomnia for several nights.
  • Patient becomes anxious and uncomfortable even with trivial things.
  • Too much of loss of weight or weight gain.
  • There is profound feeling of guilt. Feels as if everything that has gone wrong is because of his fault.
  • Too much tired and exhausted.
  • Does not have pleasure in activities which once were enjoyed by the patient.
  • Irritation from smell, noise, light, and other trivial things that normally does not have any impact on people.
  • In severe form of depression patient may think of committing suicide and may also take such action.

What Are The Causes Of Manic Depression?

Manic depression can develop due to several causes.

  • Genetic tendency: According to studies manic depression has genetic background. It is more likely to occur in people who have someone in the family suffering from this condition.
  • Biochemical changes: Imbalance of neurotransmitters has been implicated in mood disorders which also includes manic depression.
  • In some patients especially women, hormonal changes or imbalance can play a role in development of this mental illness.
  • Environmental triggers such as severe mental stress, loss of loved one, physical abuse, sexual exploitation, or any other mental traumatic event can trigger manic depression.
  • The disease is often seen in young and middle aged individuals; however, any age group can be affected. Men and women are equally affected.

Treatment Options For Manic Depression

Manic depression is not a curable condition. However, with effective treatment the symptoms can be controlled so that patient can live relative productive normal life. With treatment the severity of symptoms decreases. For example without treatment one episode of depression may have lasted more than one year. But with treatment the time period is reduced to 2 to 3 months.

Combination therapy is much more effective in treating such patients. This includes anti depressant drugs and anti psychotic medicines. These medicines may need to be adjusted according to the shift of patient’s mood. Together with anti depressants patient is also prescribed mood stabilizer drugs.

Patient may also need psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy to prevent relapses. If all the above measures are insufficient to control the illness patient may need electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).