Oct 25

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Manic Depressive Disorder aka Bipolar Disorder


Manic Depressive Disorder

Manic depressive disorder was once poorly understood and many people suffered from this disorder without much help.  But today, more is understood about the problem and much more can be done to manage it.

Manic depressive disorder is more commonly known today as bipolar disorder.  Some symptoms of this disorder include mood swings, distorted reality, and difficulties with thinking and social interactions.

For some people this is a mild disorder that may not even lead to diagnosis and treatment.  But for many people this disorder is more extreme and can cause severe problems in their lives.  People who have bipolar disorder can periods of depression or very hyper activity.   Those who have it say they can feel it coming on.

In the manic part of this disorder you might notice they have times when they’re unable to sleep, have excess energy, are compulsive, and have grandiose ideas that seem unrealistic. 

This disorder can only be diagnosed by a mental health professional with experience in the field.  There isn’t any one blood test or imaging test that can confirm the diagnosis.  Rather the diagnosis is made based on behavior and a family history.

The earlier that someone is diagnosed, the more effective treatment will be.  That’s why it’s critical that you don’t wait to get diagnosed or to have children diagnosed.  The good news is that with appropriate diagnosis, treatment is often successful.   Being compliant with therapies and medication help ones chances of successfully managing this disease.

Treatment for manic depression isn’t one size fits all.  There are a number of different medications that can be used to treat it including antipsychotics and mood stabilizers.  Antidepressants can also be prescribed, but usually in conjunction with another drug.  Our family member is doing well being managed with just a mood stabilizer.

Cognitive behavioral therapy to assist you in working through issues and learning positive coping skills will be very helpful, particularly when first diagnosed.  This was once a disorder with very little hope, but now many people lead very productive lives while receiving treatment.

The bottom line is that mental illness isn’t something about which to be embarrassed or ashamed.  Bipolar illness most often results from chemical imbalances and environmental factors just as any other physical illness does.  When you can let go of the stigma of the illness, it’s possible to get help and have happiness and joy.

If you’re suffering from symptoms that cause you to believe you might have manic depressive disorder, make sure that you seek treatment as soon as possible. The feelings you’re having can be treated so that you don’t have to feel isolated or unable to make social connections.    Let’s help Stop the Stigma!

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