Manic depression is a mental ailment commonly referred to as bipolar disorder. It is characterized by a person experiencing dramatic swings that have the ability to bring her mood from a state of near euphoria to one of intense depression. These changes in mood can last for weeks and months and, according to the Mayo Clinic website, the rate of suicide among those with manic depression is high. The signs and symptoms of manic depression vary according to which end of the spectrum the person suffering from the illness is going through.
The emotional highs associated with manic depression include a number of symptoms. One is a feeling of euphoria in which the person has an overall sense of well-being and happiness. People that are displaying the symptoms of the manic phase of the disorder may be very optimistic and have an over-valued self-esteem. Speaking rapidly and having thoughts that seem to be racing through their heads are other signs that someone with manic depression is in the manic phase.
Those that are being affected by the manic phase of bipolar disorder can often display poor judgment in their personal lives. Someone with this problem may go off on spending sprees that leave them in monetary troubles. There can be a heightening of sexual drive that leads to risky behavior. The person can become extremely goal-oriented but set the bar so high that it is not realistic or attainable. Individuals can be easily agitated and act aggressively towards others with little or no provocation. Concentrating can be nearly impossible for someone with these manic signs and he will be easily distracted. People will often forgo getting enough sleep and some will turn to drug abuse in an attempt to keep their euphoric feelings as long as they can. People suffering from these symptoms will not recognize that anything is out of the ordinary.
The depression end of the manic depression symptoms is exemplified by an overall feeling of sadness and despair. This hopelessness can bring about thoughts of suicide which can sometimes be acted upon, successfully or not. Guilt and anxiousness can be felt and trouble falling and staying asleep is not uncommon. Some of the other signs and symptoms of depression that come with bipolar disorder are tiredness, chronic pain from no known source, lack of appetite and a listlessness that sees the individual have no interest at all in doing anything.
When an individual with manic depression has four mood swings or more within a single 12-month time frame then he is said to be suffering from rapid-cycling bipolar disorder. The shift in moods can happen quickly; in some instances this shift will take place in as little as a few hours. Mixed-state bipolar disorder is a condition in which the symptoms of depression and mania happen at the same time. When the mania or depression episodes become extreme then it is possible that the sufferer can become detached from what is real. Hallucinations and delusions can then occur.
Bipolar disorders are categorized into two different major types. Bipolar I disorder is diagnosed when a person has had at least a single episode of manic symptoms. Depression can also be observed but it does not necessarily have to be. Bipolar II disorder is the medical term when someone exhibits depression along with at least a single manic episode. However, the mania will not be to the extreme and the person will be able in most cases to function in society with it. This is known as hypomania. During bipolar II disorder the depression will last considerably longer than the periods of manic behavior.