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How Manic Depression Is More Than Just Depression (It Could Be Worse.)

How Manic Depression Is More Than Just Depression (It Could Be Worse.)

Your alarm didn’t go off and you’re late for work.

Accounting had a glitch in the system and your check wasn’t deposited.

Your best friend told you at the last minute you’re not invited to her wedding.

Ouch.

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Everyone has bad days. And it’s normal to feel angry, upset and really bummed out for awhile.

Depending on how severe the issue is, such as a death in the family, it’s totally appropriate to go through a grieving period and maybe even a bout with depression.

But what if it’s different? What if what you or a loved one is going through isn’t just depression, but manic depression?

Depression is depression, right? Wrong.

It’s really easy to confuse manic depression with clinical depression — especially since both terms contain the word “depression.”[1]

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Someone suffering with clinical depression experiences really low points, extreme sadness, easily cries, has no interest in fun activities, zero energy and basically just feels hopeless.

However, someone with manic depression not only has to fight clinical depression, they also have times when they’re really happy and feel on top of the world. Yet, they also have racing thoughts, talk too fast, get little sleep and can become easily irritated.

Because manic depression includes clinical depression, it’s easy to see how the two often get mixed up. To minimize confusion, manic depression is now known as bipolar disorder. According to Psych Central:

Bipolar disorder, also known in some parts of the world by its older name of “manic depression,” is a mental disorder that is characterized by serious and significant mood swings. A person with this condition experiences alternating “highs” (what clinicians call “mania“) and “lows” (also known as depression). [2]

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Manic depression affects more people than you may realize.

Before you dismiss manic depression as “another person’s problem,” someone you know could be battling this disorder. In fact, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, millions of adult Americans are affected each year, which turns out to be about 2.6% of the population. [3] Because so many people are dealing with it and the numbers continue to grow, it’s important to understand as much as possible about this disorder.

Also, dealing with a friend or family member can be tough if you don’t know what to expect or how to proceed with their highs and lows. Manic depression can cause lots of strain on all relationships. People with this disorder experience such dramatic ups and downs, that it can be a huge shock for someone that’s unfamiliar with manic depression. A manic episode can cause people to behave erratically, act on impulse, be abusive and exercise risky behavior. Even worse, sometimes these people are so overwhelmed that they can lose touch with reality, to the point they show signs of psychotic behavior. [4]

Are you at risk? 3 clues to follow.

While it’s not entirely clear as to why people develop manic depression, there are multiple factors that have been linked to the disorder, including: [5]

  • Genetics – Though not proven, it appears that manic depression can run in families, particularly if there’s a history of mental health issues. Studies also show that a child’s risk of developing manic depression can increase by about 10 to 15 percent if one parent suffers with the disorder. And if both parents are diagnosed, the child’s risk can increase by 30 to 40 percent.
  • Neurochemical Factors – When someone has manic depression, there’s mainly a biological disorder in the brain. This disorder is the result of dysfunctional neurotransmitters. While this biological disorder can remain dormant, sometimes it can activate on its own or by certain triggers, like stress.
  • The Environment – People deal with social situations, life events and stress in different manners. Depending on a person’s genetic disposition, they may be more susceptible to developing manic depression from some form of environmental stress. In addition, drugs and alcohol can also cause a person to demonstrate manic behavior.

Breaking it down further.

Within the manic depression/bipolar disorder diagnosis, there are two types: Type 1 bipolar disorder and Type 2 bipolar disorder. [6]

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When someone has Type 1 bipolar disorder, they have depressive episodes as well as full-on, all-out manic episodes, which last at least a week and can look like this:

  • Over-the-top happiness
  • Uncontrollable thoughts or speech
  • Signs of narcissism
  • Risky behavior
  • Aggressiveness
  • Bad decision-making with money or relationships

These traits can be so extreme that the person, can end up in the hospital.

Type 2 bipolar disorder is similar to Type 1, but it’s just less severe and people don’t have to be hospitalized.

There are ways to cope.

For people suffering with manic depression, or if you’re trying to help a loved one, there are ways to cope and live a balanced lifestyle. Oftentimes, a combination of psychotherapy and medication can drastically improve a person’s quality of life. In addition, there are other ways to manage this diagnosis, such as: [7]

  • Diet and exercise – Studies show that exercise and a healthy diet can do so much for physical as well as mental health. Carve out some time to take a walk and eat a good meal to help improve your mood.
  • Seek out family and friends – There’s nothing like a good support system, and it’s good to start with those closest to you. Sometimes just having an ear to listen is enough to help brighten your day.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs – If you want to stabilize your mood, don’t alter it with recreational drugs and alcohol. For some people, drugs and alcohol can trigger a manic episode.
  • Minimize stress – If there’s anything you can get out of your life that’s causing you stress, do so immediately. The best way to manage some of your manic episodes is to avoid situations that stress you.
  • Keep learning – Be sure to stay up to date on news in the mental health community. This way, you’ll always be in the know on latest developments that could benefit you.

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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