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Bi-Polar Manic Depressive Disease

April 25, 2017

Bi-polar  Manic Depressive Disease

pet scan of depressed brain chemistry


What Is It?

Sometimes called manic depression, bipolar disorder causes extreme shifts in mood. People who have it may spend weeks feeling like they’re on top of the world before plunging into a deep depression. The length of each high and low varies greatly from person to person.

Woman in Hotel Bedroom


What the Depression Phase Is Like

Without treatment, a person with bipolar disorder may have intense episodes of depression. Symptoms include sadness, anxiety, loss of energy, hopelessness, and trouble concentrating. They may lose interest in activities that they used to enjoy. It’s also common to gain or lose weight, sleep too much or too little, and even think about suicide.


synapse signaling cells in central nervous system

When Someone Is Manic

During this phase, people feel super-charged and think they can do anything. Their self-esteem soars out of control and it’s hard for them to sit still. They talk more, are easily distracted, their thoughts race, and they don’t sleep enough. It often leads to reckless behavior, such as spending sprees, cheating, fast driving, and substance abuse. Three or more of these symptoms nearly every day for a week accompanied by feelings of intense excitement may signal a manic episode.


People on Roller Coaster Ride


Bipolar I vs. Bipolar II

People with bipolar I disorder have manic phases for at least a week. Many also have separate depression phases, too.

Those with bipolar ll have bouts of major depression, but instead of full manic episodes, they have low-grade hypomanic swings that are less intense and may  last less than a week. They may seem fine, even like the “life of the party,” though family and friends notice their mood changes.




What’s a “Mixed Episode”?

When people with bipolar disorder have  depression and mania symptoms at the same time, or very close together, this is called a manic or depressive episode with mixed features.  This can lead to unpredictable behavior,  such as taking dangerous risks when feeling hopeless and suicidal but energized and agitated.  Mood episodes involving mixed features may be somewhat more common in women and in people who develop bipolar disorder at a young age.

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of a normal brain

What Are the Causes?

Doctors don’t know exactly what causes bipolar disorder. Current theories hold that the disorder may result from a combination of genetic and other biological — as well as environmental — factors. Scientists think that brain circuits involved in the regulation of mood, energy, thinking, and biological rhythms may function abnormally in people with bipolar disorder, resulting in the mood and other changes associated with the illness.


Young woman drinking and smoking in a bar

Who Is at Risk?

Men and women both get bipolar disorder. In most cases, symptoms usually start in people who are 15-30 years old. More rarely,  it can begin in childhood. The condition can sometimes run in families, but not everyone in a family may have it.


Businessman in car looking out of window


How It Affects Daily Life

When it’s not under control, bipolar disorder can cause problems in many areas of life, including your job, relationships, sleep, health, and money. It can lead to risky behavior. It can be stressful for the people who care about you and aren’t sure how to help or may not understand what’s going on.

Line of people cycling on country lane

Risky Behavior

Many people with bipolar disorder have trouble with drugs or alcohol. They may drink or abuse drugs to ease the uncomfortable symptoms of their mood swings. Substance misuse also may be prone to occur as part of the recklessness and pleasure-seeking associated with mania.

Mature man talking to his son

Suicidal Thinking

People with bipolar disorder are 10-20 times more likely to commit suicide than others. Warning signs include talking about suicide, putting their affairs in order, and doing very risky things. If you know someone who may be at risk, call one of these hotlines: 800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433) and 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255). If the person has a plan to commit suicide, call 911 or help them get to an  emergency room immediately. 

Portrait of mother and daughter on beach

How Doctors Diagnose It

A key step is to rule out other possible causes of extreme mood swings, including other conditions or side effects of some medicines. Your doctor will give you a checkup and ask you questions. You may get lab tests, too. A psychiatrist usually makes the diagnosis after carefully considering all of these things. She may also talk to people who know you well to find out if your mood and behavior have had major changes.

Leafless trees on a dreary winter day

Which Medicines Treat It?

There are several types of prescription drugs for bipolar disorder. They include mood stabilizers that prevent  episodes of ups and downs, as well as antidepressants and anti-psychotic drugs. When they aren’t in a manic or depressive phase, people usually take maintenance medications to avoid a relapse.

Newborn Sleeping With Mother

Talk Therapy for Bipolar Disorder

Counseling can help people stay on medication and manage their lives. Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on changing thoughts and behaviors that accompany mood swings. Interpersonal therapy aims to ease the strain bipolar disorder puts on personal relationships. Social rhythm therapy helps people develop and maintain daily routines.


What You Can Do

Everyday habits can’t cure bipolar disorder. But it helps to make sure you get enough sleep, eat regular meals, and exercise. Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs, since they can make symptoms worse. If you have bipolar disorder, you should learn what your “red flags” are — signs that the condition is active — and have a plan for what to do if that happens, so you get help ASAP.

Young woman writing in journal


Electro-convulsive Therapy (ECT)

This treatment, done while you are “asleep” under general anesthesia, can rapidly improve mood symptoms of  bipolar disorder. It uses an electric current to cause a seizure in the brain. It’s one of the fastest ways to ease severe symptoms. ECT is often a safe and effective treatment option for severe mood episodes when medications have not led to meaningful symptom improvement. It’s a safe and highly effective treatment.

Prescription filled with green and yellow pills

Let People In

If you have bipolar disorder, you may want to consider telling the people you are closest to, like your partner or your immediate family, so they can help you manage the condition. Try to explain how it affects you and what you need. With their support, you may feel more connected and motivated to stick with your treatment plan.

Woman doing yoga under tree

Concerned About Someone?

Many people with bipolar disorder don’t realize they have a problem or avoid getting help. If you think a friend or family member may have it, you may want to encourage them to talk with a doctor or mental health expert who can look into what’s going on and start them toward treatment. Be sensitive to their feelings, and remember that it takes an expert to diagnose it. But if it is bipolar disorder, or another mental illness, treatment can help.

Pills and flowers of St John's wort

Depression: What Is It?

It’s natural to feel down sometimes, but if that low mood lingers day after day, it could signal depression. Major depression is an episode of sadness or apathy along with other symptoms that lasts at least two consecutive weeks and is severe enough to interrupt daily activities. Depression is not a sign of weakness or a negative personality. It is a major public health problem and a treatable medical condition.

Shown here are PET scans of the brain showing different activity levels in a person with depression, compared to a person without depression.



sports  –   are extremely beneficial

Rugby players standing in circle on sports field

Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS)

Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) can help patients with treatment-resistant depression that does not improve with medication. VNS is like a pacemaker for the brain. The surgically implanted device sends electrical pulses to the brain through the vagus nerve in the neck. These pulses are believed to ease depression by affecting mood areas of the brain.


CEO holding vagus nerve stimulator


VAGUS NERVE STIMULATION   –  Trauma Release Exercises  –  TRE  works


woman and several dogs running on footpath



fortieth birthday cake candles

Midlife Can Make You Miserable

Feel like middle age is closing in on you? You’re not alone. A 2008 study of data from 2 million people found that midlife depression spans the globe. In the U.S., it peaks at around age 40 for women and 50 for men, and usually starts to lift in the 50s. Why? People may learn to adapt to their strengths and weaknesses and value life more, the researchers say.


Depression Trigger: Overload

Squeezed between the demands of children, aging parents, marriage, and your job? Feeling sad, worthless, and guilty? Women tend to shoulder more of the “sandwich generation” burdens — and up to half become depressed as a result.

Solution: Make sure you’re caring for yourself, too. Exercise, get enough rest, eat healthy, see friends, and get help — for care giving demands and depression — if you need it.


Trigger: Low Vitamin B12

If you’re feeling lethargic or depressed, too little vitamin B12 may be to blame. If you’re older, you’re more at risk for the B12 blues because you may not have enough stomach acid to release B12 from food.

Solution: Ask your doctor to measure levels of B12 in your blood. If it’s low, talk to your doctor about diet, oral supplements, or an injection to see what might be right for you.  


Trigger: Changes in Sex Drive

As men age, their bodies produce less of the important sex hormone testosterone. Low testosterone levels can cause depression, as well as erectile dysfunction (ED) — trouble getting or keeping an erection — and a decreased interest in sex. 

Solutions: Ask your doctor to test the levels of testosterone in your blood. If it is low, ask your doctor about replacement therapy and other treatment options. 


Trigger: Thyroid Disorders

Depression can be one symptom of an under active or occasionally overactive thyroid. And if you are older, it may be the only symptom. Or it may appear with a subtle symptom. In the case of overactive thyroid, it could be accompanied by heart flutters, tremors, or fatigue. An under active thyroid can cause constipation or fatigue. That’s why this very treatable problem is often mistaken for bowel or nervous system disorders in older people.

Solution: See your doctor, especially if a close relative has thyroid disease.


Trigger: Achy Joints

Living with a condition that causes chronic pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, increases the chance of having depression. In fact, people with chronic pain are three times as likely to have depression or an anxiety disorder. And depression can make pain worse.

Solution: Exercise, meditate, or listen to music. An hour of classical music a day has been shown to ease arthritis pain and depression. If the depression or pain doesn’t lift, talk to your doctor.


Trigger: Perimenopause and Menopause

Hormone fluctuations, hot flashes, and life changes related to peri-menopause and menopause can make your mood plummet. If you have trouble sleeping, a history of depression, or PMS, mood swings or depression may worsen during this transitional period.

Solutions: For mild depression, try self-calming skills such as yoga or deep breathing. Do things that make you feel better, such as exercise or going out with friends, or find a creative outlet. For more serious, long-lasting symptoms of depression, prescription medication or talk therapy can help.


Trigger: The Empty Nest

If your child has left home, an “empty nest” can make you feel empty. Going through menopause or retirement at the same time may make it harder.

Solutions: Try to see it as an opportunity. Reconnect with your spouse, other family members, and friends. Pursue hobbies and interests you didn’t have time for before. Give yourself time to adjust. If your mood doesn’t lift in a few months, talk to your doctor.

Trigger: Type 2 Diabetes

Do you feel too listless to check your blood sugar regularly? Are unpredictable blood sugar levels making you feel out of control? Depression is a common and dangerous complication of many chronic conditions, including diabetes. Depression also may keep you from taking good care of your diabetes.

Solution: Talk to your doctor if you’ve been depressed for more than two weeks. Talk therapy, medication, and better diabetes control can help you manage both conditions. Depression is serious and if left untreated can be life threatening.


alcohol in glass

Trigger: Drinking

About 1 in 4 older people who drink heavily has major depression. Some older people start drinking more because of stressful events, such as retirement or a spouse’s death. Yet alcohol problems are often mistaken for other age-related issues.

Solutions: A combination of medications can treat both alcohol dependence and depression. Individual or group therapy can also help deal with issues that may trigger drinking.


jetlagged man yawning

Trigger: Poor Sleep

Insomnia and other sleep disruptions, which are common as we age, are closely related to depression. Insomnia can be a sign that you are depressed, and if you have insomnia but aren’t depressed, you’re at higher risk of developing mood changes. Obstructive sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome also have been linked to depression.

Solutions: Talk to your doctor about possible reasons for your sleep problems and get treatment for them. Learn good sleep hygiene habits, such as regular bedtime hours. Exercise early regularly and avoid caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine, which interfere with sleep. Prescription medication may also help.


older man reading in bathtub

Trigger: Retirement

If you were forced into retirement — because of poor health or other reasons — you might very well be depressed. Factors such as financial insecurity or lack of social support can also make retirement a downer.

Solutions: Busy retirees tend to be happier retirees. Learn new skills, take classes, get exercise. Be flexible: For example, if your health makes activities like travel difficult, take in museums and foreign films.


biomedical illustration of heart

Trigger: Heart Problems

It’s common to feel depressed after a diagnosis of heart disease or having a heart attack or cardiac surgery. But many people with heart disease go on to experience severe, long-term depression. And that can worsen heart health.

Solutions: A healthy diet and sleep, mild exercise, relaxation techniques, and joining a support group can help you get through the blues. If depression lasts, antidepressants or talk therapy can help.

Trigger: Blood Pressure Pills

Could the drugs you take for high blood pressure or other health problems also be bringing you down? Some blood pressure medicines — as well as certain antibiotics, anti-arrhythmics, acne products, and steroids, among other drugs — may be associated with depression or other mood changes. 

Solutions: Be sure to ask your doctor if any new medications you may be taking could be linked with changes in mood. If it is, you may be able to switch to another drug.


Trigger: Loneliness

Social support can help prevent or ease depression. But some kinds of social support may be better than others. A study of people in a retirement community found that those who stayed connected with friends living elsewhere had less depression. Support from within the community didn’t affect mood.

Solution: Maintain ties with close friends and family members. Explore Internet technology that can give you virtual face-time with distant friends.


close up of man holding cane

Health Hurdles

Any chronic or serious condition — such as Parkinson’s disease or a stroke — can lead to depression. A stroke can also affect the areas of the brain that control mood.

Solution: Be realistic but positive. Learn how to cope with physical effects of your illness. Don’t let them get in the way of taking care of yourself and having fun. If you have symptoms of depression, don’t wait — get help right away.

grieving person in cemetery

Trigger: Grief

It’s normal to grieve after losing a spouse or other loved one. But grief can grow into depression. Memory problems, confusion, and social withdrawal can be symptoms of depression in older people. Both grief and depression raise the risk for heart-related deaths.

Solutions: Let yourself grieve. Express your feelings to friends, in a support group, or to a grief counselor. For depression, medication and talk therapy can help.


Any-Age Mood Booster: Pets

To keep your mood up, it helps to have good emotional and social support. But who says social support needs to be human? Studies show that pets can help people have less depression and loneliness and more self-esteem and happiness. Pets are friends with other benefits, too. Walking a dog, for example, is good exercise and a great way to meet people.


couple walking on beach and laughing

Any-Age Mood Booster: Laughter

A good laugh can relax muscles, reduce stress, and relieve pain. And research suggests that a good sense of humor can take the bite out of depression. For humor on demand, create a laugh library of funny books, cartoons, and DVDs. Or try laughter yoga, which uses playful activities and breathing exercises to provoke giggles.

couple volunteering at soup kitchen

Any-Age Mood Booster: Volunteer

Helping others can help you forget your own problems. Volunteering feels good at any age, but it may hold special benefits for older people. If retirement has you adrift, for example, it can give your life a new sense of purpose and satisfaction. Recent research suggests that it may even prevent frailty in older people. Find a cause that has special importance to you and get involved.

THESE ISSUES ARE DEEP AND DIFFICULT TO CHANNEL  be ready alert stay alive live fully with quality of life that soars



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