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Caught In Mood Swings

People who suffered from hypomania have racing thoughts, are talkative and energetic, feel less need for sleep and may even indulge in reckless behavior. They often have an inflated sense of self-esteem and, in severe cases, they have psychotic symptoms such as seeing things or hearing voices.

Hypomania is just one feature of a complex and devastating mood disorder called bipolar disorder, or manic depression. It causes wild mood swings. The patient experiences a roller coaster of emotions, plunging from high spirits to dark depression, and vice versa. It leaves a trail of destruction in its wake.

During a low phase, the person may be unable to work or function. During a high phase, the person may spend excessive amounts of money on grand plans and end up heavily in debt. Bipolar disorder is often diagnosed as depression and treated with anti-depressant medication. But while the medicines curb depression, they can unleash episodes of hypomania. Psychiatrists, therefore, rely on family members to inform them of abrupt changes in the behavior of a patient being treated for depression.

Like other mental illnesses, bipolar disorder is thought to have both biological and psychological causes. The problem is that people often think that it is the person's fault giving in to wild urges to spend or caving in to depression. Advances in brain imaging technology, such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), have shown that the brains of people with bipolar disorder are different from those of normal people.

The condition is therefore treated with medication to stabilise the brain chemistry. The extremes of mood that bipolar disorder creates are associated with heightened creativity.

This is because, during the manic phase, people feel they can achieve anything. It is as if the walls which inhibit the general population do not exist in manic people, allowing them to become creative geniuses. Manic people often speak and think in rhyme more than non-manic people.

Spotting The Danger Signs

Symptoms Of Mania

  • Elevated or expansive mood
  • Inflated self-esteem, grandiose ideas or "talking big"
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Talkativeness
  • Racing thoughts
  • Irritability and distraction, increased activity
  • Agitation, reckless behavior

Symptoms Of Depression

  • Persistent low mood or feelings of sadness
  • Loss of energy, lethargy
  • Feeling irritable
  • Poor concentration
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

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