Manic depression (bipolar disorder)

Manic depression or bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, sleep patterns and behaviors, people with bipolar disorder will experience contrasting episodes of intense highs and unbearable lows – mania and depression which affects the ability to perform day to day tasks.

Symptoms of a depressive mood episode may include:

  • feeling sad, hopeless or irritable most of the time
  • lacking energy
  • difficulty concentrating and remembering things
  • loss of interest in everyday activities
  • feelings of emptiness or worthlessness
  • feelings of guilt and despair
  • feeling pessimistic about everything
  • self-doubt
  • being delusional, having hallucinations and disturbed or illogical thinking
  • lack of appetite
  • difficulty sleeping
  • waking up early
  • suicidal thoughts

Mania can cause completely different symptoms such as:

  • Increased sexual desire
  • feeling overly happy or “high” for long periods of time
  • having a decreased need for sleep
  • talking very fast, often with racing thoughts
  • feeling extremely restless or impulsive
  • becoming easily distracted
  • having overconfidence in your abilities

Types of bipolar disorder

Bipolar I disorder: involves at least one manic or mixed episode. Most people experience depression as well.

Bipolar II disorder: involves at least one episode of hypomania and an episode of depression.

Cyclothymia: involves hypomania and mild symptoms of depression (not a full episode of depression) experienced most of the time over at least a two-year period.

Causes of bipolar disorder

There is no single cause for bipolar disorder but it’s a combination of factors that interact:

Brain-chemical imbalances. Bipolar disorder is widely believed to be the result of chemical imbalances in the brain.

The chemicals responsible for controlling the brain’s functions are called neurotransmitters and include noradrenaline, serotonin and dopamine.

There’s some evidence that if there’s an imbalance in the levels of one or more neurotransmitters, a person may develop some symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Genetics. There is no conclusive medical evidence or agreement amongst experts that genes cause bipolar disorder. However there is definitely a genetic component, with some families showing much higher occurrences of bipolar disorder, an individual with a close relative such as a parent or sibling who is manic depressive is far more likely to also develop symptoms.

Environmental factors. Life altering events and stressful situations are common triggers of bipolar disorder symptoms. These may include the breakdown of a relationship, the death of a loved-one, abuse or trauma.

Treatment

Bipolar is a lifelong condition. Its unpredictable and when left untreated it can be devastating. Treatment for bipolar disorder aims to reduce the severity and number of episodes of depression and mania to allow as normal a life as possible.

Monitored treatment of bipolar disorder depends on a few things. Prescription medication alone is usually not the answer. To get the most out of any treatment it’s good to educate yourself of all possible treatments that are available to you, talk with family member and communicate openly with your therapist or doctor, consider lifestyle chances and look to secure a positive support system.

Medications may include:

  • Mood stabilizers. You’ll typically need mood-stabilizing medication to control manic or hypomanic episodes. Examples of mood stabilizers include lithium (Lithobid), valproic acid (Depakene), divalproex sodium (Depakote), carbamazepine (Tegretol, Equetro, others) and lamotrigine (Lamictal).
  • Antipsychotics. If symptoms of depression or mania persist in spite of treatment with other medications, adding an antipsychotic drug such as olanzapine (Zyprexa), risperidone (Risperdal), quetiapine (Seroquel), aripiprazole (Abilify), ziprasidone (Geodon), lurasidone (Latuda) or asenapine (Saphris) may help. Your doctor may prescribe some of these medications alone or along with a mood stabilizer.
  • Cannabis. Homegrown cannabis plants grown from widely available cannabis seeds can have a relaxation on depression.Such seeds can be bought easily from places like ICE HeadShop Cannabis Seeds. Alternatively CBD OIL is also known to help with depression and varieties of strength depending on dosages, these can be found if you click here.
  • Antidepressants. Your doctor may add an antidepressant to help manage depression. Because an antidepressant can sometimes trigger a manic episode, it’s usually prescribed along with a mood stabilizer or antipsychotic.
  • Antidepressant-antipsychotic. The medication Symbyax combines the antidepressant fluoxetine and the antipsychotic olanzapine. It works as a depression treatment and a mood stabilizer.

Psychosocial treatments

Psychosocial treatments include one of the following explained below.

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – this is mainly recommended for the depressive episodes of bipolar disorder.
  • Psycho education – this involves learning about your illness, your treatment and how to recognise signs of becoming unwell again so you can prevent a full episode. Psycho education may also be helpful for anyone who is supporting you, such as family, a partner or a trusted colleague.
  • Family therapy – this works on family relationships to improve how you feel. This can help reduce any problems in the family which add to, or are because of, your symptoms.