Manic Depression Symptoms

Manic Depression

Manic depression is called Bipolar Disorder. In investigating manic depression we will mainly be focusing on bipolar depression which is a form of major affective disorder, or mood disorder, defined by manic or hypomanic episodes (changes from one’s normal mood accompanied by high energy states). Bipolar disorder is a serious condition. Mania often involves sleeplessness, sometimes for days, along with hallucinations, psychosis, grandiose delusions, or paranoid rage. In addition, depressive episodes can be more devastating and harder to treat than in people who never have manias or hypomanias.

Manic depression symptoms

Changing the name of a depressive disorder does not make it more or less critical. In this article, the symptoms are practically the same. This disorder does need medical attention.

Manic depressive disorder problems can affect 5 million adults in any given year. Many common symptoms can also appear in children as early as 12 years old. However, some physicians may diagnose the disorder as ADHD, which is more commonly known as Attention Deficit Hypersensitivity Disorder.

People who display symptoms of this disorder are often affected in a wide range of areas within their personal lives. Due to the problems that occur, it is important for the person to seek treatment as soon as possible. To prevent certain cases from ending in disaster, it is important for both friends and family members to know what they are dealing with. While the symptoms are often distinctive, it is still important for a professional in the medical community to diagnose the disorder.

Some of the common Manic Depressive Disorder symptoms:

– Episodes of continuous crying.

– Mood swings can change dramatically, with long periods of sadness, anxiousness, or the presence of an empty mood.

– Loss of Energy

– Irritable when dealing with others

– Periods of Restlessness


– Extreme changes in sleeping patterns

– Thoughts of Suicide

Inflated Egos

While the list above includes a variety of different changes in an individual’s mental state, this manic depressive disorder list is not exhaustive, since people who have this condition can experience substantial changes in a short time frame. In fact, some people who suffer from this condition may have problems with an inflated ego. This means it is often hard to share or offer advice to them on virtually anything, specifically for family or friends who do not want to be offensive. As a result, the person may have problems with making friends quickly as well as keeping them.


Talking a lot is also a symptom of a manic depressive disorder, even though this may be a normal characteristic for some people. However, when this person is talking consistently, they may display signs of uncharacteristically poor judgment, provocative behavior, or destructive behavior. Also, one common sign of this type of disorder is their train of thought appears to be all over the place. To alleviate these situations, manic-depressive patients are normally given prescription medication to help calm them down. This treatment is designed to place them in a tranquil mood but it can also result in the person becoming extremely depressed.

Seeking Manic Depressive Disorder Treatment

Seeking Treatment for this behavior is important for each individual, especially because the disorder can cause the person to harm himself or herself. With frequent thoughts of suicide or harming others around them, it is critical for the person to obtain the prescription medication that is needed and continue the plan until the physician makes modifications. While these treatments can be very effective, stopping them abruptly can cause major problems.

Therefore, it is important for both friends and family members to recognize the resurgence of certain symptoms when they appear immediately. As previously stated, when a child has these problems in its earliest stages, physicians may mistake it for a case of ADHD. However, when the person begins to age, the physician may diagnose these same symptoms as Bipolar disorders. Bipolar is the name that is often used interchangeably with manic depressive disorder.

Manic Depressive Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis

Like most mental illnesses, manic depressive bipolar disorder is mostly diagnosed from the reports given by friends, family, workmates, doctors, etc. of the behavior of the patient in question, as well as what the patient him/herself experiences and reports to their doctor. In addition to the above, to avoid a misdiagnosis- hence inadequate or mistreatment-, the physician may perform a physical test on the patient, as well as some biological tests- to see if there are dysfunctional organs, such as the thyroid, digestive system, etc. The presence or absence of infections or diseases such as syphilis or HIV may also be used to diagnose the presence or absence of this mood disorder.

Manic Depressive Bipolar Disorder Signs and Symptoms

Different symptoms characterize each of the three phases/ episodes of manic-depressive bipolar disorder

1. Hypomania is characterized by:

  • A mild increase in physical energy
  • Increased alertness
  • Some relatively positive mood
  • Ability to carry out tasks better than when the person is their usual self
  • Mild irritability- though not enough to disrupt their life

2. Mania is characterized by:

  • Excessive physical energy
  • Grandiose thoughts and sometimes pure hallucinations (sometimes can be mistaken for schizophrenic traits)
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Risk-taking
  • Hyper-sexuality

3. Depression

  • Low mood
  • A feeling of hopelessness or helplessness; which can best be defined as anomie
  • Frustration as a result of feeling helpless
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Extremely low energy and lack of motivation
  • Reduced sexual drive

What Are Manic Depressive Disorder Symptoms

Manic depressive disorder symptoms range from one person to the other depending on the extremity of the condition. In some cases, the symptoms come all at once and in very severe forms while in other cases they are slow and gradual meaning that they take time to develop. In both cases, the symptoms are important in that it is the only way to tell if a person is suffering from the condition or not.

It is important that one learns to read the symptoms to be able to gauge the extremity of the case. The symptoms normally begin manifesting from the age of between 15 and 25 and the condition lasts for the lifetime of the individual in normal cases. This article will give some of the symptoms that are associated with the condition, also known as Bipolar disorder.

Manic Depressive Disorder Symptoms – Imbalanced appetite

This is one of the most common symptoms of the condition and it manifests in two ways. In the first case, the individual will have a very high appetite and will eat all the time. In most cases, there will be no preference for a particular type of food and the individual will eat just any type of food. The effect that this has is an increase in weight gain. As a result, these individuals will most likely be obese. On the other hand, there are individuals with a condition that will have very little appetite and hence will rarely eat. This makes them malnourished and thin, to say the least.

Manic Depressive Disorder Symptoms – Cognitive difficulties

The other symptom that is normally associated with this disorder is difficulty when it comes to cognitive functions. Individuals suffering from manic depressive disorder will have a hard time making decisions, remembering, and concentrating. For this reason, individuals will not be able to handle life issues the same way normal people do. These manic depressive disorder symptoms may or may not come at once. In some cases, one leads to the other and the severity of each may also vary from one person to the next.

Overwhelming pessimism and hopelessness

The other common symptom that is normally associated with this condition is an overwhelming and almost constant feeling of pessimism and hopelessness. This is the reason why the word depressive appears in the name of the condition. The individuals have a feeling of pending doom and no matter how hard they try to get rid of the same, their efforts bear no fruits hence they are always depressed. As a result of this, individuals will avoid being social and will be isolated in most cases.

Suicidal thoughts

As with anything that is related to depression, suicidal thoughts are very common. Individuals who suffer from manic depressive disorder will spend long periods of time thinking of ways to commit suicide and in some cases; there are patients that have even tried to commit suicide. It is said that the despair that is brought about by the symptom of hopelessness is to blame for this. For this reason, individuals who show manic depressive disorder symptoms are rarely left alone.

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a serious brain disorder in which a person experiences extreme variances in thinking, mood, and behavior. Bipolar disorder is also sometimes called manic-depressive illness or manic depression.

People who have bipolar disorder commonly go through periods of depression or mania. They may also experience frequent shifts in mood.

The condition is not the same for every person who has it. Some people may experience mostly depressed states. Other people may have mostly manic phases. It can even be possible to have both depressed and manic symptoms simultaneously.

Over 2 percent of Americans will develop bipolar disorder.

What Are the Symptoms?

The symptoms of bipolar disorder include shifts in mood (sometimes quite extreme) as well as changes in:

  • energy
  • activity levels
  • sleep patterns
  • behaviors

A person with bipolar disorder may not always experience a depressive or manic episode. They can also experience long periods of unstable moods. People without bipolar disorder often experience “highs and lows” in their moods. The mood changes caused by bipolar disorder are very different from these “highs and lows.”

Bipolar disorder often results in poor job performance, trouble in school, or damaged relationships. People who have very serious, untreated cases of bipolar disorder sometimes commit suicide.

People with bipolar disorder experience intense emotional states referred to as “mood episodes.”

Symptoms of a depressive mood episode may include:

  • feelings of emptiness or worthlessness
  • loss of interest in once pleasurable activities such as sex
  • behavioral changes
  • fatigue or low-energy
  • problems with concentration, decision-making, or forgetfulness
  • restlessness or irritability
  • changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • suicidal ideation or a suicide attempt

On the other extreme side of the spectrum are manic episodes. Symptoms of mania may include:

  • long periods of intense joy, excitement, or euphoria
  • extreme irritability, agitation, or a feeling of being “wired” (jumpiness)
  • being easily distracted or restless
  • having racing thoughts
  • speaking very quickly (often so fast others are unable to keep up)
  • taking on more new projects than one can handle (excessively goal-directed)
  • having little need for sleep
  • unrealistic beliefs about one’s abilities
  • participating in impulsive or high-risk behaviors such as gambling or spending sprees, unsafe sex, or making unwise investments

Some people with bipolar disorder may experience hypomania. Hypomania means “under mania” and symptoms are very similar to mania but less severe. The biggest difference between the two is that symptoms of hypomania generally do not impair your life. Manic episodes can lead to hospitalization.

Some people with bipolar disorder experience “mixed mood states” in which depressive and manic symptoms coexist. In a mixed state, a person will often have symptoms that include:

  • agitation
  • insomnia
  • extreme changes in appetite
  • suicidal ideation

The person will usually feel energized while they are experiencing all the above symptoms.

Symptoms of bipolar disorder will generally get worse without treatment. It is very important to see your primary care provider if you think you are experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Types of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar I

This type is characterized by manic or mixed episodes that last at least one week. You may also experience severe manic symptoms that require immediate hospital care. If you experience depressive episodes, they usually last at least two weeks. The symptoms of both depression and mania must be extremely unlike the person’s normal behavior.

Bipolar II

This type is characterized by a pattern of depressive episodes mixed with hypomanic episodes that lack “full-blown” manic (or mixed) episodes.

Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (BP-NOS)

This type is sometimes diagnosed when a person has symptoms that do not meet the full diagnostic criteria for bipolar I or bipolar II. However, the person still experiences mood changes that are very different from their normal behavior.

Cyclothymic Disorder (Cyclothymia)

Cyclothymic disorder is a mild form of bipolar disorder in which a person has mild depression mixed with hypomanic episodes for at least two years.

Rapid-Cycling Bipolar Disorder

Some people may also be diagnosed with what is known as “rapid-cycling bipolar disorder.” Within one year, patients with this disorder have four or more episodes of:

  • major depression
  • mania
  • hypomania

It is more common in people with severe bipolar disorder and in those who were diagnosed at an earlier age (often during mid to late teens) and affects more women than men.

Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder

Most cases of bipolar disorder begin before a person reaches 25 years of age. Some people may experience their first symptoms in childhood or, alternately, late in life. Bipolar symptoms can range in intensity from low mood to severe depression, or hypomania to severe mania. It is often difficult to diagnose because it comes on slowly and gradually worsens over time.

Your primary care provider will usually begin by asking you questions about your symptoms and medical history. They will also want to know about your alcohol or drug use. They may also perform laboratory tests to rule out any other medical conditions. Most patients will only seek help during a depressive episode, so it’s important for your primary care provider to perform a complete diagnostic evaluation before making a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Some primary care providers will refer to a psychiatric professional if a diagnosis of bipolar disorder is suspected.

Individuals with bipolar disorder are at a higher risk for a number of other mental and physical illnesses, including:

Substance abuse problems are also common among patients with bipolar disorder.

There is no known cause for bipolar disorder, but it tends to run in families.

Treating Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder cannot be cured. It is considered a chronic illness, like diabetes, and must be carefully managed and treated throughout your life. Treatment usually includes both medication and therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Medications used in the treatment of bipolar disorders include:

  • mood stabilizers such as lithium (Eskalith or Lithobid)
  • atypical antipsychotic medications such as olanzapine (Zyprexa), quetiapine (Seroquel), and risperidone (Risperdal)
  • Anti-anxiety medications such as benzodiazepine are sometimes used in the acute phase of mania
  • anti-seizure medications (also known as anticonvulsants) such as divalproex-sodium (Depakote), lamotrigine (Lamictal), and valproic acid (Depakene)
  • People with bipolar disorder will sometimes be prescribed antidepressants to treat symptoms of their depression, or other conditions (such as co-occurring anxiety disorder). However, they often must take a mood stabilizer, as an antidepressant alone may increase a person’s chances of becoming manic or hypomanic (or of developing symptoms of rapid cycling).r commit suicide.

Suicide prevention:

If you think someone is at immediate risk of self-harm or hurting another person:

Manic Depressive Bipolar Disorder Treatment:

Light therapy

  • Psychotherapy (alone, in groups, or with family/ friends)
  • Medication- Sodium valproate and carbamazepine are commonly used to stabilize moods, Lamotrigine and topiramate are used for treating severe depression while Olanzapine is used to mostly- prevent relapses.
  • Antidepressants increase body and mind activity to get the patient off the low-mood

Effective treatment of manic depressive bipolar disorder is determined by proper diagnosis. Misdiagnosis leads to inadequate or wrong treatment, especially since most of the above symptoms are evident in other mental illnesses and can at times occur simultaneously. It is also important to note the cause (whether genetic or environmental); so that the right treatment is given. Treatment may be done at home, but sometimes, it is necessary for the patient to be hospitalized/ institutionalized if and when they are a risk to themselves or others (during any of the mania or depressive episodes).

How Manic Depressive Disorders Can Be Treated?

The main difficulty doctors often find in diagnosing manic depression is the unresponsive nature of patients suffering from this disorder. This is because people associated with or living with patients are more affected than the patients themselves. Moreover, patients try to avoid the treatment of the disorder and make every possible attempt to deal with the situation on their own. If not treated on time, manic depression can have precarious consequences like substance abuse, car accidents, suicide, bankruptcy, and spending sprees.

To treat this disorder in men, physicians often suggest patients use mood stabilizers like lithium. Other than lithium, patients can also go for benzodiazepines, anticonvulsants, and antipsychotics. Sometimes, an antidepressant is used together with a stabilizer in order to boost the depressed mood of the patient. Besides this, one can consider using stimulants as a treatment for manic depressive disorder and step up the action of antidepressant drugs.

Herbal Remedies for Bipolar Disorder

Many herbs have been used to treat different conditions through the ages. Herbalists call these substances nervines, and some may prove useful for treating specific symptoms of bipolar disorder.

The common types of nervines that have been tried by people with bipolar disorder include:

  • Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa). A nervous system depressant and sedative, sometimes used by people with autoimmune conditions for its anti-inflammatory effects. Its active ingredient appears to bind to estrogen receptor sites, so it may cause hormonal activity.
  • Damiana (Turnera aphrodisiaca). A traditional remedy for depression. As its Latin name indicates, it is also believed to have aphrodisiac properties. Whatever the case may be there, it does seem to act on the hormonal system. Its energizing quality might be dangerous for bipolar patients.
  • Ginkgo biloba. An extract of the ginkgo tree is advertised as a herb that can improve your memory. There is some clinical evidence for this claim. It is an antioxidant and is prescribed in Germany for the treatment of dementia. It is believed to increase blood flow to the brain.
  • Ginseng (Panax quinquefolium). Has an energizing effect that may be helpful to people whose depression is accompanied by extreme fatigue and lethargy.
  • Grapeseed oil and pycnogenol. Both are extra-powerful antioxidants. (Pycnogenol is derived from marine pine trees.)
  • Gotu kola (Centella Asiatica, Hydrocotyl Asiatica). An Ayurvedic herbal stimulant is sometimes recommended for depression and anxiety.
  • Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra, Liquiritia Officinalis). Boosts hormone production, including hormones active in the digestive tract and brain.
  • Sarsaparilla (Hemidesmus indicus). Like licorice, it seems to affect hormone production as well as settling the stomach and calming the nerves.
  • St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum). Has gained popularity as an herbal antidepressant. It has the backing of a decent amount of research. Those choosing to use this remedy should follow the same precautions as with SSRIs and MAOIs, two families of pharmaceutical antidepressants. It can also cause increased sensitivity to light. It is available by prescription in Germany, where it is the most widely used antidepressant. It is potentially dangerous to use St. John’s Wort with prescription antidepressants or any other medication that could affect serotonin.

Although most herbal remedies are relatively safe, you should consult with your doctor before trying one of these. Some herbs interact badly with certain medications and can lead to serious and possibly harmful side effects.

SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder.

This is a depression that has been linked to the changes in the climate. It usually occurs during the winter months and the lack of sunshine. I have written an article about this and if for any reason you feel depressed I suggest you read this post.

Always consult with your doctor. This is a significant disease and please do not keep any feelings of depression or mood changes to yourself.

Thank you for reading


Comments are welcome

2 thoughts on “Manic Depression Symptoms”

  1. A very insightful article about manic depression. My experience with bipolar people can be summed up in one word: Intense. Not that they are always intense, but the feelings and actions are intense. 

    But I also found that people I know who are bipolar are often some of the most intelligent and caring people. There are more than you think with this disorder. On some people you hardly notice unless you know them very well. 

    Bipolarity is often assosciated with being crazy even if it is not the case. It is a huge stigma and I know many with the diagnosis who feel very stigmatized.

    • Hi Hilde,

      Thank you for your comments. The stigma that is associated with depression is very sad. I am glad that it is being recognized as a disease, and being treated as more than being compared to feelings of being sad or happy. Any type of depressive disease does not reflect on a person’s capacity of caring or their intelligence. I suffer from depression and have seen both sides of life, and I feel this has given me the ability to understand more. You are absolutely right sometimes the symptoms of depression are not recognized until it is too late. 

      Best wishes,



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