Manic Depression – Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Understanding Manic Depression – Bipolar Disorder

Manic depression is also known by a few other names such as manic depressive disorder, or more commonly known as bipolar depression. It is a mood disorder that involves the frequent and oftentimes sudden changes of mood from mania to depression and vice versa.

Manic Depression

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.

Manic depressive disorder was once poorly understood and many people suffered from this disorder without much help, however, more is understood about the problem today and much more can be done to treat it. A lot of research has been dedicated to this disorder since it was officially recognized in the medical world several years ago and today, several forms of treatments have already been developed.

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 often appear depressed, hence manic depression.

In order to understand manic depression, you first have to realize how it is different from ordinary feelings of mania or depression.

It is perfectly normal for a person to feel extremely happy and extremely depressed at times but if the mood constantly fluctuates between these two extremes, then it is no longer normal and is likely to be a sign of manic depression. However, along with depression, you might also notice they have times when they’re unable to sleep, have excess energy, are compulsive, and have grandiose ideas that seem unrealistic.

This is the manic part of the disorder.

A person who suffers from this condition would typically have a very short attention span when he is in the manic stage. He would also have a hard time falling asleep and be incapable of focusing on practically anything beyond a few minutes.

It is common for people in the manic stage to make rash decisions when it comes to finances or personal relationships.

On the other hand, they couldn’t be any more different once they fall into the depressive state. In this phase, the person would have no interest in anything at all and may spend most of their days sleeping. Suicidal tendencies are also common in this phase of manic depression.

What many people find to be the seriousness of manic depression is that the affected person may switch from high to low and vice versa without any warning at all. Sometimes, a manic depressive individual may change moods several times a day, which can be disconcerting to the people around them.

Causes of Manic Depression

Manic depression may be caused by a wide variety of factors, although it is not an exact science. As with any mental health disorder the causes are varied.

Genetic, neurochemical and environmental factors probably interact at many levels to play a role in the onset and progression of bipolar disorder. The current thinking is that this is a predominantly biological disorder that occurs in a specific part of the brain and is due to a malfunction of the neurotransmitters (chemical messengers in the brain). As a biological disorder, it may lie dormant and be activated spontaneously or it may be triggered by stressors in life. Original Source

Therefore no one is quite sure about the exact causes of bipolar disorder.

Symptoms of Manic Depression

There are many signs and symptoms of manic depression. It depends on many factors…and it also depends on the phase of their bipolar disorder. Here are the symptoms of the mania phase taken from MayoClinic.

  • Euphoria
  • Inflated self-esteem
  • Poor judgment
  • Rapid speech
  • Racing thoughts
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Agitation or irritation
  • Increased physical activity
  • Risky behavior
  • Spending sprees or unwise financial choices
  • Increased drive to perform or achieve goals
  • Increased sex drive
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Easily distracted
  • Careless or dangerous use of drugs or alcohol
  • Frequent absences from work or school
  • Delusions or a break from reality (psychosis)
  • Poor performance at work or school

Treatments of Manic Depression

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.

Treatment for manic depression isn’t one size fits all.

It can also be helpful to participate in cognitive behavioral therapy to assist you in working through issues and learning positive coping skills.  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.  It 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.

If you suspect that you may have manic depression, the best thing to do is to see a doctor right away to be assessed and correctly diagnosed. This is the only way you will be advised of your treatment choices. Many of the manic depression treatments are dealt with by psychiatrists and with prescription medications. This is one of the most frequently prescribed treatments. In addition to seeing a doctor, you might want to research further so that you can understand the condition fully and know exactly what it is.

Do you know someone with a bipolar disorder? Have they responded well with their treatments…and do you know if they have used any natural therapies? I would be extremely interested in hearing your comments to see how they have helped manage their symptoms.

Affiliate Disclosure

My website contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase any products mentioned in my articles, I may receive a commission. If you do, thank you!

About Jennifer Johnson

I suffered with social anxiety and stress for years. I discovered what my triggers were and learned to control them. Hopefully some of the natural anxiety relief techniques I have tried, will also be your solution.


  1. If you are diagnosed with bipolar disorder, be patient with finding the proper meds and dosage. What your pdoc prescribes at first may not be effective. If so, let him or her know and they can change the dosage or meds entirely. It’s often a process of trial and error until you find the right mix. However, once it is found, life is soooo much better. Hang in there!

Speak Your Mind