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Manic Depression

Diagnosis, Emil Kraepelin, Treatments For Manic-depressive Illness

Manic-depressive illness, clinically called bipolar disorder, is a major mental illness belonging to the category of illnesses designated as mood disorders. It is estimated that as many as two million Americans suffer from this illness and many more may go undiagnosed or underdiagnosed. Approximately one in five families will be confronted with a family member who may experience a manic episode or an episode of clinical depression. As the term bipolar suggests, there are two extreme moods in manic depression: one is depression and the other is mania, where behavior and irritability or anger become extreme.

Manic depression is characterized by drastic emotional changes and extreme mood swings. The mood may be one of an emotional high where a person has excessive energy, may feel exuberant, creative, and ready to take on the world. This is characteristic of a manic episode. The person may feel that he or she needs little sleep and may even get only three or four hours of sleep during the manic episode. People in this mode of the illness may have racing thoughts, may have auditory hallucinations, and may suffer from delusions of grandeur. The person often exhibits a great deal of irritability and can become quite argumentative.

The other side of manic-depressive illness is a state of depression during which the person feels that everything is hopeless. The mood in the depressed state is flat. The person may have a poor appetite, may sleep too much or too little, feel tired, lose interest in otherwise pleasurable activities, experience difficulty in concentrating, may feel worthless or extremely guilty, and may have thoughts of suicide.

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