Manic Depression (Manic Depressive Disorder): Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Manic Depression is an old-term, and now medical professionals and common people call it as a bipolar disorder. It is considered as a serious brain disorder and the people who are suffering from this condition will experience an extreme variance in terms of ability to think, feel, and their actions on it. Manic depressive illness and manic depression are the other names of bipolar disorder.

People who are suffering from this disorder will experience a range of emotions and change their personality from time to time. They will behave based on their mood and their mood changes a lot. Due to this reason, it is called mania. It is very difficult to predict their brain and their action as their mood shifts frequently.


Bipolar disorder is not the same for everyone and even though the disorder is the same we can observe a lot of changes in the people who are suffering from a manic depressive disorder or bipolar disorder. Some people who are suffering from this disorder may remain silent and on the other hand, the same people who are suffering from the same disorder may react differently. Some people experience depressive states and while others experience manic phases. In some cases, people experience both manic and depressive phases simultaneously.

It has been observed in the United States that nearly two per cent of American people developing this disorder at least once in their life.

What are the indicators of bipolar disorder?

Sudden changes in their energy levels, participating in different activities that were never done before in his or her life, changes in the sleep patterns, and modifications in their behaviour are considered as the common symptoms of bipolar disorder or manic depression.

People who are suffering from manic depression may not encounter a single manic episode or depressive phase. This will happen as they are occupied with unstable moods. Common people also change their mood from time to time. But when compared to the mood shifts of manic depression is entirely different.

It will affect their self-esteem and people who are suffering from the manic depressive disorder often faces problems at their workplace and due to this they might lose their job or may not perform well up to their expectations. Children also affected by this disorder and those who are suffering from this disorder may experience trouble in school, and people also lose their relationships with their loved ones due to this problem. In very rare cases, people try to commit suicides when they want to leave this world.

Attempting suicide, feeling low, alterations in food habits, sleep disturbances, unable to enjoy the things once previously enjoyed before, exhaustiveness, changes in their behaviour, unable to concentrate on the things, difficult to make decisions, and displaying low energy levels are the symptoms of a depressive mood episode.

Participating in unsafe sex, doing exciting things for a long time, not sleeping, racing thoughts, extreme irritability, speaking very quickly and loudly are the symptoms of a manic episode.

People who are suffering from the manic depressive disorder may also experience hypomania. It means under mania and the indicators are not as severe as manic and depressive episodes. Following are the symptoms of a person who is experiencing mixed mood states. These includes

  • Getting difficulty in sleeping or unable to sleep
  • Appetite changes
  • Self-harming or making attempts to commit suicide
  • Agitation

When a person who is in a mixed mood state and experiencing the above symptoms may feel energized. These symptoms may become worse if you don’t seek medical attention immediately after experiencing all these symptoms of manic-depressive disorder.

What are the different types of Bipolar disorder?

Bipolar I

When the symptoms of manic episodes last for one week, then it is considered as bipolar I. There are chances of you may experience the symptoms of a severe manic episode and you need immediate medical care in this case. Depressive episodes also last for 1-2 weeks. People will behave differently when they are suffering from the symptoms of manic-depressive disorder.

Bipolar II

When a person experiences the symptoms of both hypomanic episodes and depressive episodes will come under the category of Bipolar II.

BP-NOS (Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified)

When a person does not meet the criteria of both bipolar I and bipolar II will fall under this category. However, people who are suffering from the manic depressive disorder will continue to behave abnormally.

Cyclothymic disorder

This disorder is considered a mild form of manic-depressive disorder. In this case, the person who is suffering from this disorder will experience the symptoms of mild depression and hypomanic episodes for at least 2 years.

Rapid-Cycling Bipolar Disorder

There are high chances of people may develop this disorder called as rapid-cycling bipolar disorder. Patients who are suffering from this disorder will experience episodes of mania, hypomania, and major depression.

How to Diagnose Bipolar disorder?

People who are affected by the disorder are below under the age of twenty-five years. Some people will experience their first symptoms of the manic-depressive disorder in their adulthood or later in life. Your physician may recommend a range of tests in order to diagnose the manic-depressive disorder. If your physician suspects you have manic depression, following are the tests will be conducted by your primary care provider to diagnose the condition. These includes

Physical Examination

A physical examination will be conducted by your physician to recognize your other health disorders that could be the reason for your problem.

Psychiatric assessment

If your primary care provider unable to detect your problem, then he or she may recommend you to a psychiatrist. Your psychiatrist will ask some questions regarding your thought pattern, the way you feel, and how you behave. In this psychiatric assessment, you are required to fill a questionnaire or psychological self-assessment test. Your psychiatrist may speak with the members of your family and ask about your symptoms.

Mood charting

In this method, all you need is a pen and paper. You are asked to keep a track on your moods, sleep disturbances on a daily basis. The notes you prepare will be helpful in the diagnosis and finding the right course of action for your problem.

Criteria for Manic depressive disorder or manic depression

In this method, your present symptoms will be compared with the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). American Psychiatric Association prepared this chart and your psychiatrist will compare your symptoms with the help of this chart to diagnose your condition.

What are the treatment options for Manic-depressive disorder or bipolar disorder?

Your course of action will be decided by the person who is having a vast experience in dealing with these types of disorders. During the course of treatment, you will be assisted by a team. This team includes a

  • Psychologist
  • Social worker, and
  • Psychiatric nurse

The main objective of the treatment is to ease the symptoms of manic-depressive illness or manic depression. The first and foremost treatment to deal with the symptoms of this condition is using medications. There are various types of medications are available to treat the manic-depressive disorder. These includes

Mood stabilizers

To ease the symptoms of manic and hypomanic episodes, your physician may recommend mood stabilizers to you. Following are the mood stabilizers

  • Lithium (Lithobid)
  • Valproic acid (Depakene)
  • Lamotrigine (Lamictal)
  • Divalproex sodium (Depakote), and
  • Carbamazepine (Equetro)

Antipsychotic Medications

If the mood stabilizers are unable to manage the symptoms of your condition, then you may need antipsychotic drugs. Your physician may prescribe these medications to you along with the mood stabilizers. Examples of antipsychotic drugs include

  • Olanzapine (Zyprexa)
  • Quetiapine (Seroquel)
  • Risperidone (Risperdal)
  • Ziprasidone (Geodon)

Antidepressant Medications

If depression is the main cause of your bipolar disorder problem, then your doctor may add antidepressant drugs in your treatment plan. Antidepressant drugs can help you to manage the symptoms of depression and it is often prescribed by a mood stabilizer or antipsychotic.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

The main objective of this therapy is to remove the negative thoughts in your mind by replacing with positive thoughts. In this therapy, your psychiatrist will come to know what is causing you to behave abnormally. You are able to manage your stress and cope with the difficult situations after this therapy.


Psychotherapy will be very helpful for the children and teens who are suffering from manic-depressive illness or manic depression. Children and teens are able to develop the following skills such as

  • Coping skills
  • Overcoming difficulties
  • Resolve social issues
  • Strengthen family bonds and communication


Your physician may admit you in the hospital if you are behaving dangerously or if you are making attempts to commit suicide or become detached from reality. You are able to control your thoughts and stabilize your mood with the help of psychiatric treatment while you are suffering from the episodes of manic or major depressive disorder.


People need not worry if they are diagnosed with a manic-depressive illness or bipolar disorder. Recognizing the symptoms of bipolar disorder is the first step towards recovery and we would advise you to consult your primary care provider when you are experiencing the symptoms of bipolar disorder or manic depression. You need to fix an appointment with your doctor after recognizing the symptoms of this condition. Your condition will become worse if it remains untreated. It has been observed that fifteen per cent of the people with untreated manic depression are committing suicide.



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