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About bipolar disorder/manic depression

Manic-depression is a chronic mental illness, a physical disease of the brain. There is no known cause, but there is a proven hereditary influence. Many bipolar people have parents or extended family who suffered from depression, hyperactivity, rages, suicide or any number of behaviors. It is not a condition that can be cured but it can be controlled by medication.

If you think you may have bipolar disorder, go and see a doctor immediately.

(See also "Bad Times and Blessed Times", a testimony of one person with bipolar disorder.)

Symptoms

There are two aspects of the bipolar disorder. Manic "highs" and depression "lows." Often these are called mood swings.

The manic state is the high part of the cycle. It is characterized by hyper or excentric behaviors:

The depression symptoms are the same as those of clinical depression, including:

(For more information on unipolar or clinical depression, see the information index.)

Treatment

The cycles of depression and mania can be controlled by medication. Psychoanalysis alone does not work, but it can help someone cope with the illness.

Psychotheraputic drugs used include:

Antimanics: lithium, Depakote (divalproex), and Tegretol (carbamazepine)
Antidepressants are used to treat the depressions.

Copyright © 2001 Marleen.