Person with head in their hands wondering about manic depression vs. bipolar disorder

Manic Depression vs. Bipolar Disorder

You’ve probably heard the terms “bipolar disorder” and “manic depression.” However, until you or a loved one are diagnosed, you might not fully understand the differences between manic depression vs. bipolar disorder. If you’re concerned about your mental health or that of a loved one, a mental health treatment center can provide the necessary resources.  

Extreme emotional highs and lows often accompany bipolar disorder. It may be difficult to distinguish between manic depression and bipolar disorder. Knowing the signs can help you recognize when to ask for help. Promises Behavioral Health has mental and behavioral health treatment centers across the United States. We offer inpatient and outpatient care for various mental health conditions. Call 844.875.5609 today to ask about getting appropriate mental health support for you or your loved one. 

Manic Depression vs. Bipolar Disorder: Understanding the Difference 

What’s the difference when it comes to manic depression vs. bipolar disorder? There is no difference. These two terms are used interchangeably. Before the 1980s, manic depression was the formal diagnostic term. The condition was officially renamed bipolar disorder, but both terms still describe the same mental health condition. 

Bipolar disorder is a type of mood disorder. It is primarily categorized as extreme changes in mood and behavior. Typically these changes alternate between a hyperactive, stimulated, or “manic” mood and a depressed or low-energy mood. 

Signs of Manic Depression 

A person can struggle with depression without having bipolar disorder. For that reason, it can be difficult to distinguish between major depression and depression as a symptom of bipolar disorder. There is one primary way to tell the two forms of depression apart. You can consider whether the individual also experiences manic periods between the depressive periods. 

Signs of Depression 

The signs of depression tend to be similar regardless of whether a person is experiencing bipolar depression or some other form, like major depression. Some of the most common symptoms of depression include:  

  • Feelings of numbness or hopelessness 
  • Loss of interest in activities 
  • Difficulty performing daily tasks 
  • Withdrawal from family and friends 
  • Loss of appetite or overeating 
  • Insomnia or a desire to sleep all the time 
  • A feeling that life is meaningless 
  • Thoughts of suicide or a desire to die 

When bipolar disorder is absent, a person may experience periods of stability. In other words, they may feel normal between depressive episodes.  

Signs of Mania 

One way to tell whether depression symptoms are signs of manic depression or bipolar disorder is by observing whether the manic symptoms are present once depressive symptoms cease. Signs of mania include:  

  • Racing thoughts 
  • Decreased need for sleep  
  • Quick and excited speaking 
  • High-energy behavior 
  • Increased risk-taking behavior 
  • Excessive confidence and self-esteem 

Mania manifests differently in each person. Often, mood swings are common; extremely high spirits can quickly turn to anger and aggressive behavior. Mania can be an unpleasant experience, but often it is not. After a period of depression, mania sometimes brings a sense of relief. The renewed energy and interest accompanying mania can feel good after a depressive period.  

It’s a good idea to assess yourself for a pattern of mood shifts between mania and depression. This is a crucial sign that you may live with manic depression.  

Find Mental Health Support with Promises Behavioral Health 

The only way to know that you or a loved one are living with bipolar disorder is to be evaluated at a mental health treatment center. However, you don’t need a precise diagnosis to recognize that mental health support would help. Mania, depression, and other mental health symptoms make navigating life harder. Often, they also strain relationships, impact careers and finances, and make people feel they don’t have control over their thoughts and emotions.  

Promises Behavioral Health offers inpatient and outpatient treatment for bipolar disorder. Our programs support navigating mania and depression when they arise so our clients get the help they need. Contact Promises today at 844.875.5609 to learn more about the signs of manic depression or bipolar disorder and how we can help. 

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