I am thankful to God that I can continue to serve Him through this blog.
One of the missions of my blog is to share with others God's goodness and mercies to me in managing clinical depression and bipolar disorder, as well as to share resources that will benefit a person with a mood disorder and information for their family and loved ones.
There is still a wide misunderstanding about depression in our society and even among Christians. Many still mistakenly think that all depression is due to a weakness in a person's character or a lack of faith in God. But in reality depression is complex (read more on The Complexity of Depression ).
There is a form of depression which is clinical and due to changes in the brain or body in which a person is not able to think or function as per normal. There is also a form of mental illness or mood disorder in which a person alternate between 2 extreme mood swings ie mania and clinical depression.
What are the signs and symptoms of clinical depression or bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness)?
How can one differentiate between spiritual depression and clinical depression or bipolar depression?
Clinical depression and bipolar depression are real medical conditions that can be treated. Different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through, the symptoms are severe.
The following is an excerpt taken from an article on the website of National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). ( NIMH said "NIMH publications are in the public domain and may be reproduced or copied without the permission from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). NIMH encourages you to reproduce them and use them in your efforts to improve public health. Citation of the National Institute of Mental Health as a source is appreciated.")
Introduction Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in a person's mood, energy, and ability to function. Different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through, the symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe. They can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide. But there is good news: bipolar disorder can be treated, and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives.
What Are the Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder? Bipolar disorder causes dramatic mood swings—from overly "high" and/or irritable to sad and hopeless, and then back again, often with periods of normal mood in between. Severe changes in energy and behavior go along with these changes in mood. The periods of highs and lows are called episodes of mania and depression.
Signs and symptoms of mania (or a manic episode) include: • Increased energy, activity, and restlessness • Excessively "high," overly good, euphoric mood • Extreme irritability • Racing thoughts and talking very fast, jumping from one idea to another • Distractibility, can't concentrate well • Little sleep needed • Unrealistic beliefs in one's abilities and powers • Poor judgment • Spending sprees • A lasting period of behavior that is different from usual • Increased sexual drive • Abuse of drugs, particularly cocaine, alcohol, and sleeping medications • Provocative, intrusive, or aggressive behavior • Denial that anything is wrong
A manic episode is diagnosed if elevated mood occurs with three or more of the other symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for 1 week or longer. If the mood is irritable, four additional symptoms must be present.
Signs and symptoms of depression (or a depressive episode) include: • Lasting sad, anxious, or empty mood • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed, including sex • Decreased energy, a feeling of fatigue or of being "slowed down" • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions • Restlessness or irritability • Sleeping too much, or can't sleep • Change in appetite and/or unintended weight loss or gain • Chronic pain or other persistent bodily symptoms that are not caused by physical illness or injury • Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
A depressive episode is diagnosed if five or more of these symptoms last most of the day, nearly every day, for a period of 2 weeks or longer.
A mild to moderate level of mania is called hypomania. Hypomania may feel good to the person who experiences it and may even be associated with good functioning and enhanced productivity. Thus even when family and friends learn to recognize the mood swings as possible bipolar disorder, the person may deny that anything is wrong. Without proper treatment, however, hypomania can become severe mania in some people or can switch into depression.
Sometimes, severe episodes of mania or depression include symptoms of psychosis (or psychotic symptoms). Common psychotic symptoms are hallucinations (hearing, seeing, or otherwise sensing the presence of things not actually there) and delusions (false, strongly held beliefs not influenced by logical reasoning or explained by a person's usual cultural concepts). Psychotic symptoms in bipolar disorder tend to reflect the extreme mood state at the time. For example, delusions of grandiosity, such as believing one is the President or has special powers or wealth, may occur during mania; delusions of guilt or worthlessness, such as believing that one is ruined and penniless or has committed some terrible crime, may appear during depression. People with bipolar disorder who have these symptoms are sometimes incorrectly diagnosed as having schizophrenia, another severe mental illness. It may be helpful to think of the various mood states in bipolar disorder as a spectrum or continuous range. At one end is severe depression, above which is moderate depression and then mild low mood, which many people call "the blues" when it is short-lived but is termed "dysthymia" when it is chronic. Then there is normal or balanced mood, above which comes hypomania (mild to moderate mania), and then severe mania.
In some people, however, symptoms of mania and depression may occur together in what is called a mixed bipolar state. Symptoms of a mixed state often include agitation, trouble sleeping, significant change in appetite, psychosis, and suicidal thinking. A person may have a very sad, hopeless mood while at the same time feeling extremely energized. ( read the full article )
I hope to share more from this article and other resources on the diagnosis and treatment of depression and bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness).