Age at Onset, Causes, and Triggers for the Signs of Manic Depression.
What is Manic Depression?
The signs of Manic Depression affect about 6 million men and women in the United States alone (3%) Millions more from around the world suffer with the manic depressive disorder, usually requiring a lifetime of treatment.
-Also known as Bipolar Disorder or Manic Depressive disorder, Manic Depression consists of episodes of varying intensity, of both depression as well as the mania symptoms of an elevated mood, with often quite serious swings in thought and dangerous behavior.
In 1980 manic depression became known as bipolar disorder, in part due to the negative connotation of the word "manic" and the stigma that often comes with it (Maniac). Both terms are commonly accepted, though public education would better serve to reduce the stigma.
-For the purposes of this article, both terms will be used interchangeably. As for the bipolar usage, bipolar I, II, III and cyclothymia will also be used to describe various types of manic depression.
Many agree, manic depression seems a more self-explanatory term, with manic describing the mania symptoms, and of course, depression forming the description at the other end of the spectrum.
(Or of course, bipolar, meaning, "having two poles")
Signs of Manic Depression can vary, from a major or clinical depression, to a mild depression. At the other end of the scale, mania symptoms can also be extremely intense, or may be a milder form, called Hypomania.
-Although many alternate between the extremes of depression and mania symptoms, most are in a depressed state far more than they are manic, with stable periods in between episodes.
The signs of Manic Depression, regardless of which end of the spectrum they exist, be it the manic state or depression symptoms, can also vary greatly from person to person.
-The duration of each manic or depressive state varies as well with the individual, and the cycles may last a few days, or go months at a time, after which symptoms may disappear for some time.
How Does Manic Depression Differ?
Much different from the everyday mood shifts we all experience as daily events affect our lives, either for the good or bad. The depression or mania symptoms of Bipolar disorder can become so intense as to hinder our very ability to properly function from day to day.
-We have all experienced depression to some degree in our lives, whether a serious form or not, but the manic state of manic depression differentiates it from a mild or clinical depression.
This can make Manic depression particularly dangerous.
-The aggressiveness, energy, and creativity brought on by the hypomania are often considered an asset, an improvement, or in the case of a young person may even be thought of as "coming out of their shell".
But, if in a severe manic state, a person may gamble away their life savings in one night without batting an eye, only to stay in bed for days later, in the throes of the guilt and hopelessness of a severe depression.
What Causes Manic Depression?
Signs of manic depression typically begin in adolescence or in the early adult years, and often last a lifetime. The signs can be difficult to detect, as milder symptoms appear quite normal and may not intensify at first.
-Approximately 80-90% of those who do have signs of Manic depression have a family history of depression. Despite ongoing research the exact genetic defect associated with the disorder has yet to be identified.
Scientists believe bipolar disorder is likely caused by a variety of factors, which taken together may affect certain areas of the brain in such a way as to produce a chemical imbalance and induce (trigger) an episode.
(see diagnosis and treatment)
More on Causes and Manic Depression Triggers
-The Genetic Component, it does appear to run in families, although much more research is currently needed.
-Sleep Problems, too much or not enough sleep is one of the first signs of manic depression episodes, correcting this nearly always helps symptoms.
-Nightmares of those with a manic depressive disorder can be very detailed and extremely realistic, at times bizarre and violent, and thereby absolutely frightening.
People with manic depression with anxiety have reported nightmares and even night terrors prior to a shift into the mania or depression cycle.
-Night terrors, although not considered nightmares, are among disorders called parasomnias and are rare in adults.
But studies have found that the most common factors linked to adults who do experience these night terrors, are people with bipolar disorders and depression with an anxiety component.
-Stress, in the workplace as well as in relationships has long been known as one of the most common triggers for many forms of depression, and especially for signs of manic depression.
During the holidays: Many people become stressed around holidays and get-togethers, often triggering a manic or depression episode.
-For many, the crowds alone may be a trigger as well.
-Depression Medications as a Trigger? -Many people with manic depressive disorder are not helped with antidepressants, and the antidepressants may even trigger the mania side of the disorder and should not be used alone as the only treatment, if at all.
-An insufficient production of thyroid hormones (Hypothyroidism) may sometimes induce depression or mania symptoms or episodes.
-Other Physical or Medical Conditions. The physical problem alone may trigger an episode, but more serious problems exist with possible interactions that may occur, with the other medications being taken. (see Bipolar imitators)
-Traumatic past or present life experiences may contribute as well.
-Drug an Alcohol Abuse all but guarantee episodes with bipolar disorder. Not only do they interfere with your state of mind, but also interactions with bipolar medications taken, are a very strong possibility.
Manic depression triggers vary for each and every individual, and episodes may also occur without any known or obvious trigger.
-If the known triggers are not avoided or addressed in some positive way, episodes could increase and even intensify.
The Good News:
Once an individuals triggers are known and modified through treatment and support, stabilization and normalcy can be achieved for most people.
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