Manic Depression Is Unique In The World Of Depressive Disorders

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Manic depression is unique in the world of depressive disorders because it includes an element of mania as well as the mood state of depression.  This causes seemingly unpredictable changes as the individual moves from one state of functioning to one that appears to be its opposite.  A basic understanding goes a long way into giving one more insight into this interesting and baffling disorder.

What Are The Symptoms?

The symptoms of the manic phase include heightened energy, restlessness, feelings of euphoria, inability to concentrate, and racing thoughts or speech.  They may also include jumping from one idea to the next, a heightened sex drive, overspending, poor judgement, irritability, drug abuse, and denial of the current altered state.

The depressive symptoms are the same as those for typical depression and include persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, and helplessness.  This is in addition to the other customary symptoms such as loss of interest in daily activities, loss of energy, and general pessimism.

The Different Phases

Within this disorder are both manic and depressive episodes and each has their own unique criteria for classification as genuine episodes of either kind.

Mania consists of the usual elevated mood state with the addition of three of the other common symptoms for the majority of the day, every single day for the duration of one week or longer.

Depressive episodes must consist of five of the usual depressive symptoms are present for the majority of the day, every single day for the duration of two weeks or longer.

Some people present with mixed episodes where qualities of both mania and depressive episodes present.  The simultaneous occurrence of heightened energy and extreme sadness and hopelessness can be a very confusing state to be in and to deal with.

Problems With Diagnosis

The cycling from one state to another raises difficulties.  Diagnosis can be impeded if a mental health professional is seeking the proper diagnosis but is not aware of the presence of both states.  If the professional only observes the depressed state then depression may seem to be the logical diagnosis.

Another difficulty comes in as the individual tends to enjoy the euphoria that accompanies the manic stage and, therefore, denies that there is a problem.  The individual may even resist treatment in an attempt to hold onto the euphoric, invincible feeling.

Manic depression seems like a contradiction in terms, but it is very real.  Through the recognition of both phases and careful diagnosis, this form of depression can be recognized and treated.

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