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Manic depression is a serious mental health problem involving extreme swings of mood. It is also know as Bi-polar affective disorder. It often occurs when work, study, family or emotional pressures are at their greatest. In women it can also be triggered by childbirth or the menopause.
Someone experiencing mania may not recognise it is happening. Incoherent, rapid or disjointed thinking or being distracted easily are common features of an episode of mania. Other symptoms include paranoia and hallucinations affecting vision, hearing or perception.
Most people who have a diagnosis of manic depression will experience a severe depression at some time. Usually this will follow an episode of mania where the trauma of the manic episode can sometimes compound the depression. Symptoms include a feeling of emptiness, worthlessness, loss of energy and motivation, pessimism or negativity about most things. Thoughts of death and suicide can be common.
The majority of people with manic depression can be effectively managed with a combination of different approaches. Doctors can prescribe a number of mood stabilising medications. 'Talking therapies' such as cognitive therapy and counselling often help as can learning to self-manage. Self-managing is an invaluable way of learning to manage mood swings and help lessen their severity.