Manic Depression

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Manic depressive - What does it mean?
Manic depressive refers to mood swings from overly “high” (manic) to overly “low” (depressed). Another name for manic-depressive illness is bipolar disorder. This refers to a person’s mood alternating between “poles” of mania (highs) and depression (lows). Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that causes unusual changes in the person’s mood, energy, and ability to function.

Manic-depressive illness or bipolar disorder affects both men and women. Although it can start at any age, it usually begins in late adolescence. Bipolar disorder is found among people of all ages, races, ethnic groups, and social classes. It appears to have a genetic link and tends to run in families. Unfortunately, in addition to affecting the sufferer’s life, this disease also has the potential to devastate the lives of the caregivers and those in the immediate family circle.

Manic depressive - How is it diagnosed?
The symptoms of manic-depressive illness or bipolar disorder are classified according to either manic or depressive episodes. Manic depressive states are diagnosed as:

  • Manic episode: A manic episode is diagnosed if elevated mood occurs with 3 or more of the other symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, or for 1 week or longer. If the mood is irritable, 4 additional symptoms must be present.

  • Depressive episode: A depressive episode is diagnosed if 5 or more of these symptoms last most of the day, nearly every day, or for a period of 2 weeks or longer.

  • Mixed bipolar episode: In some people, however, symptoms of mania and depression can occur together in a mixed bipolar state. A person could have a very sad, hopeless mood, while feeling energized at the same time.

Manic depressive-What are the treatment options?
Know your personal triggers: Manic-depressive illness has a recurrent pattern, and continuous treatment is necessary. An adequate amount of sleep and regular sleep times are of primary importance in the treatment of bipolar disorder. Knowing personal triggers such as sleep patterns and life events help in the proper treatment of the disease.

Medication: Psychiatrists generally prescribe medications known as “mood stabilizers” e.g., lithium or valproate. If needed, antidepressants are used to balance the highs and lows of the disease.

Monitor your thyroid function: People with bipolar disorder often have abnormal thyroid function. Thyroid levels need to be monitored carefully because they affect mood and energy levels.

Learn to spot relapses: For a person with manic-depressive illness, understanding the illness and learning to spot relapses is vital to successful treatment. This applies to the person who has the illness as well as family members who often seek treatment.

Manic-depressive – Is there hope?
It is not uncommon for the sufferer and his family members to have a sense of sadness and incompleteness concerning the diagnosis of manic-depressive illness, despite having carefully monitored treatment options.

The Bible says in 2 Timothy 1:7, “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” Those who trust Jesus for salvation become children of God, and God gives them His spirit of power, love, and self-discipline. No one has to ‘go it alone.’ Despite a diagnosis of manic-depressive illness, if you have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ His Son, and rely on Him for guidance and direction, you will have the power to live life.

Read a Personal Story of Coping With Depression!

Resource: The National Institute of Mental Heath: www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/bipolar.cfm.


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