People often wonder about manic depression and major depression.”Is there any difference?” “Are they one and the same?”.
Though many people take it to be the same, fact is, two disorders are enormously different.The treatment of these two disorders too is significantly distinct.Major depression (officially called major depressive disorder)is a primary psychiatric disorder characterised by the presence of either a depressed mood or lack of interest to do usual activities occurring on a daily basis for at least two weeks.Just like other disorders, this illness has associated features such as impairment in energy, appetite, sleep, concentration, and desire to have sex.
Patients afflicted with this disorder also suffer from feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness. Tearfulness or crying episodes and irritability are common.If left untreated, they become socially withdrawn and can’t go to work.
Moreover, about 15 percent of depressed patients become suicidal and occasionally, homicidal.Other ant eupho develop psychosis-hearing voices(hallucinations) or having false beliefs (delusions)that people are out to get them.
What about manic-depression or bipolar disorder?
Manic-depression is a type of primary psychiatric disorder characterised by the presence of major depression(as described above) and episodes of mania that last for at least a week.When mania is present, patients show signs opposite of clinical depression.During the episode, patients show significant euphoria or extreme irritability.
In addition, patients become talkative and loud. Moreover, this type of patients don’t need a lot of sleep. At night, they are very busy making phone calls, cleaning the house, and starting new projects. Despite a lack of sleep, they are still very energetic in the morning ready to establish new business endeavors. Because they believe that they have special powers, they involve in unreasonable business deals and unrealistic personal projects.
They also become hypersexual-wanting to have sex several times a day.Like depressed patients, manic patients develop delusions (false beliefs).
So the big difference between the two is the presence of mania.This manic episode has treatment implications. In fact the treatment of these disorders is completely diffferent.While major depression needs antidepressant,manic-depression requires amood
stabilliser. Giving an antidepressant to manic depressed patients can precipitate a switch to manic episode.Although there are some exceptions to the rule (extreme depression,lack of response to mood stabilisers,among others),it is preferable to avoid antidepressants among bipolar patients.
When considering the use of antidepressant in a depressed bipolar patient,clinicians should combine the medication with a mood stabiliser and should use an antidepressant that has a low tendency to cause a switch to mania.