Five to ten percent of people who experience depression also experience states of exaggerated happiness or elation called mania. The occurrence of both depression and mania at different times is called bipolar affective disorder.
People with bipolar disorder, or manic depressive disorder, experience alternating mood swings that range from emotional highs (mania) to lows (depression). It is not known what causes bipolar disorder. Research suggests that people with the condition have a genetic disposition. It tends to run in families. Drug abuse and stressful or traumatic events may contribute to or trigger episodes.
Symptoms of mania include:
• Feelings of euphoria, extreme optimism, exaggerated self-esteem
• Rapid speech, racing thoughts
• Decreased need for sleep
• Extreme irritability
• Impulsive and potentially reckless behaviour
• Symptoms of the depression phase are the same as in major depression
What Can I Do?
Many people do not seek help for depression or bipolar disorder, sometimes because their symptoms prevent them from recognizing the seriousness of their situation. It can also result from the stigma that surrounds both these conditions, making people feel like they are weak or at fault. It is important to know that depression and bipolar disorder are treatable. Friends and family can be supportive by learning all they can about the condition affecting their loved one. You can learn more from support groups and community health associations. For more information please see the resources listed at the end of this section.
For more information please go to the resources link on the left side of the page.