Estimates say that about 2 and a half million Americans suffer from manic depressive illness. Also called bipolar disorder, this mental illness involves episodes in which a persons mood alternates between extreme mania and depression. A person may experience pressure and racing thoughts and speech, and often uncontrolled reckless behavior. Two thirds of those who suffer from bipolar illness have numerous episodes of recurrences of alternating phases. Most people suffering from manic depressive illness experience extreme cases of up and Dow emotion.
Studies say manic depression is one of the most understudied psychiatric illnesses. Bipolar disorder is much less common than depression. atleast 8 percent of people experience depression within their lives. bipolar disorder affects men and women almost equally, and is most common amongst upper economic classes. 15 percent of people with bipolar disorder commit suicide. research shows that highly creative people such as artists, composers , writers, and poets, show usually high rates of bipolar disorder. Their periods of mania is said to fuel their creativity.
Bipolar disorder usually begins in a persons late teens early twenties. Men usually experience mania as the first mood episode, where as women usually experience epression first. episodes of mania and depression usually last from several weeks to several months. In most cases swings between mania and depression occur within days. In other cases a person may experience major depression and minor mania. Mania and depression may also follow patterns of seasons. Mania in the winter and fall and depression in summer and spring.
People suffering from bipolar disorder feel indifferent to work and have no desire to do anything constructive. They think slow, concentrate poorly, feel tired, and experience changes, usually an increase in appetite and sleep. They ften feel a sense of worthlessness and helplessness. In some cases a person may feel pessimistic about the future and may attempt suicide. a patient may all experience delusions and hallucinations. In the manic phase people feel intensely and inappropriately happy, self important and irritable.
During this state a person becomes highly energized and sleeps less, talking in rapid fire speech often going off in all directions. They have inflated confidence and unfounded self esteem. Mania makes a person abrasive, impatient, frustrated, and even physically abusive. They behave in socially inappropriate ways, they hink irrationally, and show impaired judgment. Certain things may happen thats out of their normal character like taking plane trips all over the country or making large investments. Excessive gambling , buying very expensive items, abusing alcohol or drugs, and making unwanted sexual advances.
Causes of manic depression seem to be rooted in the genes. Studies used on identical twin show that if one twin has bipolar disorder its a 70% chance the other will have it too. With fraternal twins its only a 15% chance that the other will have bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder seems to run in families. Personal or work related stress can trigger a manic episode. Other factors such as prenatal development, childhood experiences, and social conditions can play a huge role. Some people enjoy the sensations and energies that accompany manic episodes.
It is proven that very mild cases of manic depression can actually attribute to success in business and arts. A person may experience episodes of over confidence which may result in unfortunate consequences because of a bad business venture. The milder, chronic form of bipolar illness is called cyclothymic disorder. This form alternates between mild epression and mild mania. When someone is in the in the stage of a euphoric episode, their behavior may seem a bit odd, or in some cases completely bizarre. They may become involved in such goal-oriented activities such as sex,work, school, or social relations.
The person may also get involved in unprotected or indiscreet sexual situations. To detect manic depressive disorder doctors look for alternating periods of manic systems, loud racing speech that is hard to interpret and follow, attention that shifts from one focus to another, inability to complete task before going on to another, a tendency to ace, going on from one conversation to another,poor judgment and unwarranted optimism, and tendencies towards anger outburst. At this time there is no cure for bipolar disorder but there are drugs that can bring manic depression under control.
Lithium a natural salt evens out the highs and lows of the mood disorder. It reduces the frequency and severity of the manic episodes. lithium requires monitoring because sometimes the medication does not effectively work on the patient. potential side effects are hand tremors ,increased thurst, the need to urinate frequently, acne, and weight gain. Many atients feel the need to discontinue the use of the medication when they start to feel better. Studies say there is a 90% percent chance that symptoms will reoccur 1 year after discontinuation of use of the drug.
Bipolar illness not only effects victim but those close to the victim. Therapy is often recommended for family members and friends because the diease is so hard to live with. Therapy can help the person and family members detect early signs of a relapse. manic episodes can be embarrassing, disruptive and sometimes dangerous so family members are earged to study and learn the signs of on coming relapses. Hospitalization may be necessary from time to time, specifically when manic symptoms become extreme or dangerous. xperts say causes can be fights between spouses or loss of sleep. A patient most likely will still suffer from some symptoms even if they follow the exact order of medicine.
This illness has no cure. Doctors also have not figured out what causes bipolar disorder. Allot of patients find comfort in talking to other patients about their illness. This allows the patients to find a common bond with another person. Giving the patient the comfort of knowing someone else is going through the same thing if not worse. ospitals offer many support groups for manic depressive people.
Stress is said to be the biggest cause of mania and depression occurances. Therapy is supposed to reduce a persons feeling of stress. Manic depression research as come a long way since it was first discovered. It still remains though one of the most understudied psychiatric disorders. Millions of people a year suffer from this diease. It can result in suicide, drug abuse, and unprotected sex. This illness deserves more attention then it is receiving. I feel we as a nation should address the on going rise of suicides as a cause of one form or another of manic depression.