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.)
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:
- euphoria; feelings of joy or wellbeing
- grandiose thinking; able to accomplish anything
- reckless spending
- increased creativity
- lack of insight
- poor judgement
- increase or decrease in the need for sleep
- rapid speech
- incoherent speech
- uncontrollable need to say things
- inappropriate humor or behavior
- impulsive behavior
- easily distracted
- racing thoughts
- disjointed thinking
- increased religious activity
- inappropriate guilt
- difficulties with relationships, school, work, the law
The depression symptoms are the same as those of clinical depression, including:
- Lethargy (everything seems just too much trouble to do)
- disturbed sleep (early waking, difficulty getting to sleep)
- waking up tired after a "normal" night of sleep)
- lack of concentration
- lack of sexual drive
- sensation of utter despair
- sense of hopelessness or uselessness of everything
- fear of death
- obsessional behaviour
- permanent sense of anxiety
- feelings of wanting to cry, but inability to do so
- thoughts of suicide, or fear of committing suicide
- change in appetite and weight
(For more information on unipolar or clinical depression, see the information index.)
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.