Manic Depression - Can Cannabis Help Treat it? | cannabisMD

What Is Manic Depression? Can Cannabis Help Treat it?

What Is Manic Depression: Everything You Need to Know

Is Manic Depression the Same as Bipolar Disorder?

Manic depression is a formal term used to describe bipolar disorder which is a mental illness. The symptoms of the disorder include high levels of euphoria, depression, and mania (irritability).

The disorder is known as bipolar because of the changes in mood. An important thing to notice is that although it is a type of depressive disorder, it is strictly not a major depressive disorder that has no irritability at all. Moreover, manic depression is not as common as other depressive disorders.

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is classified as having two types, type 1 or type 2. Bipolar type 1 has the symptoms of irritability and long-term manic phases that include phases of depression too. On the other hand, in type 2, people experience depression along with hypomania. While hypomania is also a form of mania, it is less severe.

If the disorder is even less severe than bipolar 1, those people are believed to be experiencing from the cyclothymic disorder. This is most common in teenagers who would probably develop bipolar at some point in their lives. Moreover, the mood swings experienced might show a rapid to gradual change.

Their intensity can always vary. Mania affects decision power, thinking process and social behavior which can sometimes be so bad that it can result in a lot of embarrassment and other related problems. For instance, an individual might end up making bad financial decisions because of the irritability phase they are going through. This disorder is mostly a chronic recurring illness.

Hypomania which is a less severe form of mania is linked to bipolar II disorder, but might also be experienced by people with Bipolar I during their episodes of depression. However, without proper care, hypomania can result in severe mania. Not so mild mania and depression have symptoms of psychosis that include delusions (false, irrational beliefs) and hallucinations (sensing ability impaired).

Such symptoms depict the extreme mood of the patient at the time. For instance, delusions of splendor or vanity might be experienced, and similarly, delusions of low self-esteem might be experienced during the depression. Many of the people suffering from these symptoms are mistaken as patients with schizophrenia, but this is strictly not the case.

Bipolar Disorder Treatment

Bipolar disorder patients can be largely made stable with proper medical care. The fact that manic depression is persistent, it would need a preventive treatment on a long-term basis. Such patients are usually given mood stabilizers along with psychosocial therapy. While different types of mood stabilizers are available, all are associated with a number of side effects.

Some of the recommended mood stabilizers include:

  • Lithium, the medication for treatment of mania approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is believed to help considerably with persistent phases of depression and mania.
  • Anticonvulsant medications, usually lamotrigine (Lamictal), valproate (Depakote), carbamazepine (Tegretol) or topiramate (Topamax), are all used as mood stabilizers. In 1995 Valproate was approved by the FDA to help treat mania.

Therapy
Along with mood stabilizers, therapy is commonly used to give patients and their family encouragement and the much-needed guidelines. Research shows that psychosocial interventions can help stabilize mood, resulting in less trips to the hospital and overall better functioning of different areas. Among these therapies are psychoeducation, interpersonal and social rhythm therapy, behavioral therapy and family therapy.

Medical Cannabis and Manic Depression

It is understood from anecdotal evidence that bipolar patients are believed to take cannabis without medical consultation, and anecdotal studies show that patients take cannabis to help with both depression and mania. Research also shows the therapeutic effects of cannabis, where THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) might bring about calming, antipsychotic and antidepressant effects.

On the other hand, some of the studies suggest that cannabis can only help with depression and not with mania. However, the results would always vary from person to person. Many of the people with bipolar usually have other mental conditions such as anxiety. Hence, with the use of cannabis some might feel relaxed and others may feel more anxious than before. Like many modern medications treatment will vary for every individual. Before trying any treatment mentioned within this article we would strongly advise you to seek professional medical advice before doing so.

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