What is Bipolar Disorder & Manic Depression

What is Bipolar Disorder & Manic Depression

Bipolar disorder is commonly known as manic depression because it is characterized by alternating periods of extreme moods. A person suffering from bipolar disorder experiences a wide array of moods that can swing from being intensely euphoric or irritable (mania) to sad and hopeless (depression) with an interval of normal mood in between.

Complex psychiatric illness

Manic depression is a recurrent, complex psychiatric illness that impacts the mood and behavior of an individual. The person may lose the ability to think clearly and become confused whenever some decision needs to be taken. Doctors and scientists believe that a person’s family medical and mental health history, as well as genetics, play a prominent role in the greater likelihood of development of bipolar disorder. Stress can enhance the symptoms of bipolar disorder. People who are suffering from bipolar disorder live on an emotional roller coaster with intense highs and crippling lows.

Characterization of bipolar disorder

According to research, Bipolar I Disorder is characterized by episodes of mania and periods of depression. Episodes can arise where patients have simultaneously occurring manic and depressive symptoms known as mixed states. Different from Bipolar I Disorder, Bipolar II Disorder is characterized by recurrent episodes of depression and milder symptoms of mania, commonly known as hypomania. Hypomanic episodes do not impair the patient’s ability as occurs in full-blown manic episodes and they are not complicated by psychotic symptoms.

Manic and Depressed Mood

Many experts are of the opinion that bipolar disorder is often experienced as a swing between a manic and a depressed mood. They believe that this has some link with increased stress or other events in a person’s life. There are many treatment options are available to assist in controlling these extreme modifications in the mood. A recent study has come to the conclusion that anything, any course of event or action can lead to shifting in the mood, and in a few cases, there is no obvious trigger at all. Majority of the time, the first manic episode is triggered due to few external stressors the person has experienced. Though, the pivotal factor here is that the person’s complex moods quite a number of times seem to come on of their own accord.

Understanding Depression

Depression is a chemical imbalance that can ruin the daily routine as it takes away the energy level of the patient. It is a serious medical condition and serious steps must be taken to avoid and reduce the state of depression. Depression is a strong mood involving sadness, discouragement, despair or hopelessness that can last for a considerable amount of time. Depression affects the entire body, not just the mind, and can cause physical pain along with emotional problems.

According to recent research, depression can be successfully treated in more than 80% of the people who have it. The irony is that around half of the people suffering from depression do not get proper care and treatment. Untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide in bipolar disorder patients. Depression affects people of every color, race, economic status, and age. One in five people will suffer from depression at least once during their lifetime. It is also the leading cause of alcoholism, drug abuse, and other addictions.

Genetic Determinants

The likelihood of being diagnosed with bipolar disorder has a significant genetic contribution. According to one estimate, the heritability of this illness is around 50 to 80% depending on family history and how close the members with mental illness are to the patient. If a person with bipolar disorder is interested in having children, there are still good odds that the child will not suffer bipolar illness because the genetic determinants of the illness are complex.

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