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Depression and Manic Depression

Posted by Depression Help | Posted in Depression Terms | Posted on 15-05-2011

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Depression and Manic Depression

While it may seem like there’s only one kind of depression, there are actually a few. And one of the most common is bipolar disorder, which is also known as manic depression. The term “bipolar disorder” is usually favored over “manic depression,” though people often use them interchangeably (PubMed, for example, lists “manic depression” and “bipolar affective disorder” as alternate names for bipolar disorder).

While bipolar disorder is often considered to be a subtype of clinical depression, depressive symptoms are actually only half of what occurs in this disorder. As the term “manic depression” suggests, those who suffer from this mental disorder alternate between periods of depression and periods of mania. Mania can be thought of as the opposite of depression—instead of feeling very low, a person gets an abrupt up-swing. Symptoms of mania include an unusually high level of energy, decreased need for sleep, a marked increase in social activity and gregariousness, and an elevated opinion of oneself (including one’s abilities).

On the other side of the scale, those suffering from bipolar disorder have the typical symptoms of depression: lack of energy, excessive sadness, affected appetite and sleep, and others (for a more complete list of the symptoms of depression, see our previous article, What are the symptoms of depression? [link]). Because of this, people suffering from manic depression may be incorrectly diagnosed as only suffering from major depressive disorder.

People affected by bipolar disorder experience alternating periods of mania and depression. One day, a person may be talkative and very energetic, while the next day they will be tired, uninterested in things they used to find exciting, and sad. These mood swings are characteristic of bipolar disorder and make this a very different disorder than depression by itself. The degree of highs and lows may differ from person to person, and may also affect diagnosis and treatment. As always, if you’ve experienced symptoms like this, or think you might be affected by another mental disorder, talk to your doctor right away. Also, check out PubMed Health’s page on bipolar disorder [http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/men-and-depression/symptoms-of-depression-and-mania.shtml] for more information on symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.

1. PubMed Health, “Bipolar Disorder,” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001924/, accessed September 9, 2011.
2. National Institute of Mental Health, “Symptoms of Depression and Mania,” http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/men-and-depression/symptoms-of-depression-and-mania.shtml, accessed September 9, 2011.

Story courtesy of Dann Albright – Mountain Weekly News http://mtnweekly.com

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