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What is Manic Depression?

Manic depression is a term most of us have heard of at some point or another. This condition is one of specific regard to mental state and psychological function. What exactly is this condition?

The Condition Explained

With this condition, one can suffer greatly. It is marked by tremendous ups and downs in mood with general depressive qualities always present. One with the condition may feel unusually happy and energetic one day, only to feel terribly depressed the very next day. Stability in mood and temperament is very much lacking. Depressed feelings and thoughts are always present to some degree.

Those with this condition often suffer many debilitating problems due to its confines. Aside from the immediate mood effects of ever-changing highs and lows, difficulty in all relationships typically abounds. This includes family, friends, coworkers, romantic partners, and other associations. The sufferer’s own instability puts a strain on these relationships as well responsibilities, personal productivity, physical health, and more.

We must note however that the scientific term now used for this condition is “bipolar disorder”. Although the term “manic depression” is still usable and recognized, modern medicine now refers to it by its latter name – bipolar disorder. For our purposes going forward, we will do the same.

A Few Statistics

To say that bipolar disorder is difficult on the sufferer is undoubtedly an understatement. To further understand this condition, we can look to the National Institute of Mental Health for some interesting and very telling statistics on the disorder:

  • The average age of onset is 25 years.
  • Approximately 3.9% of the population is lifetime-afflicted with the condition.
  • Temporary cases of the condition are said to touch around 2.6% of the population.
  • 2.2% of the adult population is afflicted with “severe” cases.
  • Only around half of sufferers are said to be engaged in active treatment of the disorder.

Such facts tell us of the seriousness and realities of the disorder at street-level.

Causes

At this point in our scientific understanding of bipolar disorder, there are considered to be two chief causes to blame in all cases. One of the causes is the environmental cause. Happenings in one’s environment are proven to bring on the condition in some. These can include trauma, stress, grief, abuse, violence, death, and many other troubling experiences one may have. In all of these cases, the catalyst is an outside event or circumstance, an “environmental cause” that is to blame.

In all other cases not deemed to be caused by environmental stressors, the only remaining catalyst is that of genetics. Genetics predispose us to be or not to be susceptible to environmental factors. They also dictate whether the condition can manifest all on its own, completely absent of any environmental detriments.

Treatment, Cure

There is no definitive cure for bipolar disorder at this point. While this fact itself is cold, it is also true that the condition has been shed by many past sufferers. It has also been successfully managed in countless others even when it never did completely go away. The overall complexity of the condition as well as its governing factors make for a yet unknown, definitive cure and still many more answers to come.

For those seeking treatment, there are countless approaches. The most mainstream and well-known of these approaches is through doctor oversight, therapy, and medication. Meanwhile, other, more holistic approaches have shown excellent results as well. These alternative management methods can include dietary change and maintenance programs, physical activity and exercise-based programs, Yoga, religious engagements, hobbies and sports, social clubs, and many more approaches.

Bipolar disorder is a very real and present, public and personal health concern. These are just the basics on the condition. For further reading and resources from an authority on manic depression, bipolar disorder, and many other psychological conditions, inquire with the National Institute of Mental Health.

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