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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 August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko Biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and Black Tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

More About Boosting Brain Power

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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