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Behavioral | Mental Health

Bipolar/Manic Episodes

Who is affected by manic depression?

Manic depression affects more than 5.7 million American adults - or about 2.6 percent of Americans age 18 and older in a given year. When symptoms are present before the age of 12, they are often confused with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) - a syndrome that is usually characterized by serious and persistent difficulties resulting in inattentiveness or distracibility, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Affecting men and women equally (although women are more likely to experience more depressive and less manic symptoms), manic depression often begins in adolescence or early adulthood. In fact, the median age of onset is 25. Manic depression is likely to run in families and, in some cases, is believed to be hereditary. Researchers are still undergoing intense research to identify a gene that may be responsible for this disorder.

What are the symptoms?

The following are the most common symptoms of manic depression. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently.


symptoms may include:

  • persistent sad, anxious, or empty mood
  • loss of interest in activities once previously enjoyed
  • excessive crying
  • increased restlessness and irritability
  • decreased ability to concentrate and make decisions
  • decreased energy
  • thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
  • increased feelings of guilt, helplessness, and/or hopelessness
  • weight and/or appetite changes due to over- or under-eating
  • changes in sleep patterns
  • social withdrawal
  • physical symptomsnot relievedby standard treatment (i.e., chronic pain, headaches)


symptoms may include:

  • overly inflated self-esteem
  • decreased need for rest and sleep
  • increased distractibility and irritability
  • increased physical agitation
  • excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that may result in painful consequence; this may include provocative, aggressive, or destructive behavior
  • increased talkativeness
  • excessive "high" or euphoric feelings
  • increased sex drive
  • increased energy level
  • uncharacteristically poor judgment
  • increased denial

For a diagnosis of manic depression to be made, an individual must exhibit both depressive and manic symptoms to a varying degree, depending upon the severity of the disorder. The symptoms of manic depression may resemble other psychiatric conditions. Always consult a behavioral health specialist for a diagnosis.

What is the treatment for manic depression?

Because depression has shown to often co-exist with other medical conditions, such as heart disease, cancer, or diabetes, and other psychiatric disorders, such as substance abuse, or anxiety disorders, seeking early diagnosis and treatment is crucial to recovery. A diagnosis is often made after a careful psychiatric examination and medical history performed by a psychiatrist or other mental health professional.

Specific treatment for manic depression will be determined by your physician based on:

  • your age, overall health, and medical history
  • extent of the disease
  • your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • expectations for the course of the disease
  • your opinion or preference
Treatment may include either, or a combination of, the following:
  • medication (i.e., mood-stabilizing anticonvulsants such as lithium, valproate, or carbamazepine, and/or antidepressants such as Prozac, Zoloft, or Paxil)
  • psychotherapy (most often cognitive-behavioral and/or interpersonal therapy that is focused on reframing the individual's distorted views of themselves and the environment around them, working through difficult relationships, and identifying stressors in the environment and how to avoid and cope with them)
  • electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
Recognizing the varied and extreme mood swings associated with manic depression is crucial in obtaining effective treatment, and avoiding the potentially painful consequences of the reckless, manic behavior.

In most cases, long-term, preventative treatment is necessary to stabilize the mood swings associated with manic depression.

Call (330) 379-9841 for more information or to schedule an appointment with a behavioral health specialist.
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