Manic Depression

Manic Depression or manic-depressive disorder is also known as Bipolar disorder or bipolar affective disorder. It is a psychiatric diagnosis for a mood disorder in which people experience disruptive mood swings.

A mental disorder that is characterized by a disturbance of mood. The disturbance may be unipolar (consisting of either depression or mania) or bipolar (swinging between the two). In a severe form sometimes referred to as manic–depressive psychosis, there may also be grandiose ideas or negative delusions.

Causes

Some people inherit a tendency to manic–depressive illness. In addition, it is thought that abnormalities in brain biochemistry, or in the structure and/or function of certain nerve pathways in the brain, may underlie the illness.

Treatment

Severe illness often needs hospital treatment. Antidepressant drugs and/or ECT are used to treat depression, and anti-psychotic drugs are given to control manic symptoms. Carbamazepine or lithium may be used to prevent relapse. Group therapy, family therapy, and individual psychotherapy may be useful in certain circumstances. Cognitive–behavioural therapy may also help.

Outlook

With treatment, most affected people improve or remain stable. Even those with severe illness may be restored to near-normal health with lithium therapy.

Read about mood disorders