There are two forms of manic-depression. Unipolar (only depression), and bi-polar (alternating cycles of mania and depression). I have the bi-polar form. I usually get depression in the fall and winter and mania in the spring and summer. I have only been hospitalized for mania. The symptoms start out as feeling really well. Feeling high like your on a drug. You may lose your appetite. Then you start to have trouble sleeping. The more sleep you lose the worse the mania gets. You may become hyperactive-not being able to rest. Your attitude becomes very positive. You feel like you could accomplish anything. You have continuous racing thoughts. The thoughts can become delusional (i.e., feeling that you are a genius, thinking you are god.
You may believe that you can do things that are impossible. I also
believed that the government or someone was watching me). As the mania progresses you can experience audio and or visual hallucinations. You may want to spend allot of money. While in this manic condition you may not realize that you are sick and you may refuse treatment.
Depression has some of the same symptoms as mania. You may have trouble sleeping, poor appetite, continuous thought. But in depression instead of feeling really good you feel terrible. You feel like you cannot accomplish anything. Your thoughts become very negative. It may seem like everything is going wrong. I have never been hospitalized for depression, but I have read that you can have delusions and hallucinations in depression also.
Bipolar depression is usually not as bad as unipolar depression.
You must understand that mania and depression are two parts of one illness. Mania is the high part-which is almost like being high on cocaine or heroin, and depression is the low part which is like being on barbiturates, except you don't take anything. These drugs increase or decrease dopamine levels in the brain-but in manic depression, these dopamine levels change by themselves. Many manic-depressives are accused of being on drugs. Some people with manic depression may use drugs in attempt to control this illness but I can tell you that it will only make it worse. I have been drug free since my early 20's and have given up alcohol for the past ten years. You must stay off these drugs especially if you are on medication.
If You Think You Have Manic Depression:
You must see a doctor. Getting the right diagnoses in the beginning is very important. I was misdiagnosed for 8 years and suffered for it. Only a Psychiatrist can diagnose and treat manic-depression. It's your job to pick a good one. If he doesn't help you, pick another one. If you have this illness you must accept it. The biggest problem I have seen with people who have been writing me, is that they don't want to take their medications and follow the doctors orders. There is no cure for this illness so you must stay on medications. New medications have come out recently which work well. You should not be ashamed to have this illness. It is an illness of the brain, just as there are illnesses of other organs of the body. In fact, manic-depression is the most treatable of the mental illnesses.
If you are bi-polar and your medications don't seem to be working, ask your doctor if you can try a combination of Depakote and Remeron. This combination seems to be working well for me.