Life with Manic Depression

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Life with Manic Depression
Imagine what it would be like if you struggled with your emotions everyday, not being able to control how you think, judge, or even how you act in social situations. People with the disorder manic depression deal with symptoms such as the ones above and many more. Manic depression is also known as bipolar disorder, and by definition is a mental disorder characterized by episodes of mania and depression; in layman's terms it’s a disorder that affects a persons emotions, which leads to extreme mood swings. Most researchers agree that manic depression is a genetic disorder, which means if one of your parents has it there is a possibility you would inherently have the disorder too. Manic depression usually begins between the ages of 15-25, also it affects men and women equally (Board 1). Researchers also found that people with manic depression are generally more quiet about their disorder than people who have normal depression, and and this makes them twice as likely to commit suicide. The reason I choose this topic is a personal one, I grew up in a home with a person who suffers from manic depression, the person I love most in my life. My mother has had to deal with it for most of her life, and for all of my life I’ve had to sit on the sidelines and watch her suffer. Her dad, my grandfather also had the disorder and actually took his own life after the Vietnam war because he never sought help for it. My mother, my aunt, and my uncle all suffer from manic depression, the disease is genetic and no research has found a direct link to the cause of the disorder, I am worried that I too may have it and just don’t know it yet. The history of bipolar disorder/ manic depression has many gaps in it and it wasn’t till recently in the 20th century that it was more regularly studied and much more was learned. The first person to document a case of manic depression was in 400 B.C., it was discovered by Hippocrates and named “melancholy.” A book entitled, “The Anatomy of Melancholia” was written in 1650 by Richard Burton. The book took research from old philosophers such as Aretaeus and Hippocrates, and combined the symptoms of mania and depression together. Most of the research of the disorder focused on the depression part until 1854, when professor Jules Falret discovered a link between depression and heightened moods in patients (known today as mania), as well as the link between suicide and depression. After that in 1875, Falret went on to discover a genetic link in families that suffered from what he called “manic depressive psychosis.” In 1913 a scientist Emil Kraepelin did a study on the effects of manic states followed by depressive states in his patients and coined the term “manic-depressive.” Finally in 1952 a medical journal concluded that manic depression was passed down in the genes of families with the disorder. It wasn’t until the 1979! That congress finally determined it to be a legitimate illness and had it renamed to “bipolar disorder.” Lastly in 1999 Oxford University did a very comprehensive study on the disorder, including age, gender, and many other factors that would help physicians diagnose the disease correctly. Manic depression affects about 1 in 100 people worldwide and according to the wexner medical center in america, “Manic depression affects more than 5.7 million American adults - or about 2.6 percent of Americans age 18 and older in a given year. When symptoms are present before the age of 12, they are often confused with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) - a syndrome that is usually characterized by serious and persistent difficulties resulting in inattentiveness or distractibility, impulsivity, and hyperactivity” (Wexner 1). The first step to finding out if someone has manic depressive disorder is for them to get the proper diagnosis. Manic depression mimics symptoms of many other various psychological disorders such as major depression and...
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