Manic depressive disorder

Synonyms: Bipolar disorder

Medical Specialties: Family practice, Internal medicine, Psychiatry


Clinical Definition

Manic depression, known clinically as bipolar disorder, is a major mood disorder marked by episodes of depression, mixed episodes or mania. Symptoms vary but may include depressive symptoms as well as episodes with exaggerated assessment of self-importance, insomnia, pressured speech, impaired judgment, and engaging in risky activities. The disorder is managed with medication and psychotherapy.


In Our Own Words

Now better known as bipolar disorder, manic depression is a mental illness that is marked by mood swings between two opposites: sadness and depression on the one hand and, on the other, decreased sleep, profuse and rapidly changing ideas, pressured speech and irritability or elevated mood and extreme activity of mania. There are different kinds of bipolar disorder, and some people with this condition don’t have manic symptoms.

Treatment includes psychotherapy, or talk therapy in concert with medications such as lithium, a mood stabilizer, and agents from other drug classes. With treatment, many patients lead healthy, productive lives.

Relevant Conditions
  • Depression
  • Suicide
  • Substance abuse
Common Types
  • Bipolar I
  • Bipolar II
Side Effects
  • Depression
  • Euphoria
  • Poor concentration
  • Rapid speech and racing thoughts
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