Kanye West. Selena Gomez. Nessa Barrett. The biggest benefit of being a celebrity right now is its power to bring to light an illness that typically is dismissed as moodiness. In this case, the illness is manic depression or bipolar disorder. Read further to learn more, and how it can be treated.
WHAT IS BIPOLAR DISORDER?
If you experience tectonic shifts in your moods, from exhilarating highs to confidence crushing lows, and from bottom-of-the-barrel lows to being the “king of the world,” you may be suffering from bipolar disorder. Highs are episodes of mania, while lows are times of depression. The mood changes can blend, leaving you filled with depression and elation all at once.
But bipolar disorder affects everyone, not just celebrities. In fact, some estimates say that more than five million people in the U.S. live with some form of the illness. That is not a comforting statistic, but the numbers alone mean it is garnering attention. Today, studies indicate the symptoms can be managed with a combination of psychotherapy and drugs like ketamine, which affects the brain’s neurotransmitters.
MANIC DEPRESSION SYMPTOMS
The symptoms of bipolar disorder are often divided into those for depression, and those for mania. Sometimes, they overlap.
Symptoms of mania
Mania itself is a power to be reckoned with, sometimes causing other symptoms, but normally identified by seven key signs:
- You have feelings of being “high” or overly happy for unusually long periods of time
- Your stamina appears unhuman, with your body needing less sleep
- You talk like a speed reader, with your thoughts spewing out uncontrolled
- You feel extremely impulsive or restless
- You are easily distracted
- You are overconfident in your abilities
- You seem to enjoy risky behavior, like unprotected sex, gambling with your child’s college savings money, or otherwise ignoring your household budget and spending randomly
Symptoms of depression
- You feel sad or hopeless for a long time
- You withdraw from family and friends
- Loss of interest in once enjoyable activities
- There has been a big change in your eating habits
- You experience fatigue or low energy
- You have trouble with concentration, memory, and decision making
- You are preoccupied with suicide
WHAT CAUSES MANIC DEPRESSION?
Many healthcare providers will tell you there is no one cause for manic depression. It is more likely attributable to many factors that increase a person’s risk of suffering from the illness.
- Almost predictably, the brains of some people with the disorder show differences compared to the brains of people who are not bipolar or who do not have any other mental illness. More knowledge about disparities may help scientists comprehend bipolar disorder and decide which treatments will work. As of now, healthcare providers arrive at diagnosis and treatment plans based on a patient’s history and symptoms, instead of diagnostic tests or brain imaging.
- People with certain genetic markers. Research shows that people with a blood relative with bipolar disorder have a bigger chance of getting the illness. Many genes, not one, are involved. More knowledge about the role of genes in bipolar disorder could help researchers create new treatments.
HOW DO YOU GET DIAGNOSED?
Like other mental illnesses, manic depression is usually diagnosed in a doctor’s office and normally includes four components:
- A physical exam conducted by a medical doctor or certified healthcare professional to rule out any medical issues causing the disorder.
- A mental health evaluation conducted by a psychologist, psychiatrist, or other certified mental health professional. Your thoughts, feelings, and behavior problems will be discussed.
- Reviewing your daily moods.
- Using the DSM-5 to evaluate criteria for the disorder.
HOW IS MANIC DEPRESSION TREATED?
Normally, manic depression is treated with one or more kinds of therapy – psychotherapy or electroconvulsive therapy – which occurs over regular sessions, often for months or years. Once diagnosed, you and your mental healthcare provider can talk about treatment options, which could also include the use of medicine or alternative therapies.
DOES MEDICINE WORK?
In certain cases, a doctor may prescribe the use of mood stabilizers or antipsychotics to treat symptoms of bipolar disorder, but recent studies show a newer treatment option called ketamine infusion therapy works to improve functions within the glutamatergic system. A study by the U.S. National Institutes of Health “found that a single dose of ketamine produced rapid antidepressant effects in depressed patients with bipolar disorder.” The drug is dispensed through infusion therapy or as a nasal spray.
The main takeaway is that manic depression affects millions of people globally, but the symptoms can be managed. If you or a loved one would like to learn more about the clinical use of ketamine to help treat the symptoms of depression we can help. Contact us today to learn more.