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While it is no longer referred to as such, there is a logic behind why bipolar disorder was originally called “manic depression.” The name refers to the main characteristics. Episodes of mania, followed by bouts of depression. There is also a distinct link between mania and depression because, while it is quite common to have depression without any period of mania, manic episodes are almost always followed by some type of depression – whether it be mild or severe.

Understanding Mania

Mania or manic episodes are symptoms of either one’s mental illness, substance use disorder (SUD), or something stressful or traumatic that occurred in their lives. According to the peer-reviewed report titled Mania by authors Dailey and Saadabadi, “Mania, or a manic phase, is a period of 1 week or more in which a person experiences a change in behavior that drastically affects their functioning… The defining characteristics of mania are increased talkativeness, rapid speech, decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, distractibility, increase in goal-directed activity, and psychomotor agitation. Some other hallmarks of mania are an elevated or expansive mood, mood lability, impulsivity, irritability, and grandiosity.”

Mania also has 4 stages (or “types”). These are hypomania, acute mania, delusional mania, and delirious mania. While they all have distinct characteristics, they all share one characteristic in common: They are all followed by some type of depressive episode.

Understanding Depression

Depression is perhaps the most recognizable term when it comes to mental illness. However, many people may not know just how vast, varied, and complex depression is.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “Depression (also known as major depression, major depressive disorder, or clinical depression) is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how a person feels, thinks, and handles daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working… People with bipolar disorder (formerly called manic depression or manic-depressive illness) also experience depressive episodes, during which they feel sad, indifferent, or hopeless, combined with a very low activity level.” This last aspect is important because it is the primary disorder that links mania and depression.

As previously mentioned, one does not need to be diagnosed with manic depression to experience either mania or depression. However, an individual who has a mania-related disorder will also experience depression as a symptom of that disorder.

Mania often precedes a period of depression, but that does not mean that it can’t follow one. Regardless of which comes first, they are both linked and, yet, distinctive episodes. 

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “When a person has a manic episode, they feel overly excited, productive, and even invincible. On the other hand, when a person has a depressive episode, they feel extremely sad, hopeless, and tired… A severe manic or depressive episode may trigger psychotic symptoms, such as delusions (false beliefs) or hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that others do not see or hear).” The most common mental illness associated with both manic and depressive episodes is bipolar disorder.

Better Understanding Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, previously manic depression, is one of the most common mental illnesses currently in the United States. According to NIMH, “An estimated 4.4% of U.S. adults experience bipolar disorder at some time in their lives.” Based on the current population, that is over 14 million individuals that will struggle with some type of this mental illness.

There are also multiple types of bipolar disorder, with three being the most prominent. These three are bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder, and cyclothymic disorder (or cyclothymia). All of these types have instances of manic depression though at different levels of severity.

Bipolar I disorder has the most intense periods of mania. These periods are then followed by somewhat less intense periods of depression. Bipolar II disorder, on the other hand, is characterized by less intense periods of “hypomania” followed by more severe periods of depression. Meanwhile, cyclothymia has less severe instances of both hypomania and depression. Now, while all of these types of bipolar disorder have different characteristics, they all must be treated as soon as symptoms appear.

How to Help Someone Struggling With Bipolar Disorder

The key to helping someone struggling with bipolar disorder is to get them professional help sooner rather than later. This help can stop either a manic or depressive episode from becoming more severe.

All types of bipolar disorder are usually treated with some combination of medication and therapy. These medications and therapies are also utilized in a long-term recovery plan because the chances for a bipolar disorder “relapse” are much more likely without continued treatment.

Recovering From Manic Depression With The Phoenix Recovery Center

Instances of mania and depression can be both alarming and disconcerting. The good news is that there is a solution, and that solution is seeking professional and personal care. Fortunately, that is what we offer here at The Phoenix Recovery Center.

We must always remember that we should never be defined by our disorders; rather, we should be defined by how we overcome our disorders and move forward.

The link between mania and depression is well established. This is especially true in bipolar I and II disorder. It is important to know that depression often takes hold after a manic episode and how to best manage it when it does. If you feel like you or a loved one is struggling with issues of mania, depression, or any other aspect of mental health, we can help get you on the right road to recovery right away. For more information on the various options for treating someone who has both manic and depressive episodes, such as medication, therapy, and holistic healing, please reach out to The Phoenix Recovery Center today at (801) 438-3185.

The Phoenix Recovery Center
489 W. South Jordan Pkwy
Suite 400
South Jordan, UT