Bipolar depression is a disorder characterized by periods of major depression alternating with periods of elevated mood. If the elevated mood is relatively mild and lasts for four days or less, it is referred to as hypomania. Mania is longer and more intense. To be diagnosed as a bipolar depressive, an individual would be expected to have at least three of the following symptoms :
-Excessive self-esteem or grandiosity
-Reduced need for sleep
-Extreme talkativeness,excessive telephoning
-Extremely rapid flight of thoughts along with the feeling that the mind is racing
-Inability to concentrate, easily disctracted
-Increase in social or work-oriented activities, often with a sixty -to eighty-hour work week
-Poor judgement, as indicated by sprees of uncontrolled spending,increased sexual indiscretions , and misguided financial decisions
A full- blown maniac attack requires hospitalization. Maniac people have lost control;they may hurt themselves or others. The standard treatment for bipolar depression is lithium. Lithium stabilizes mood. It is especially useful in preventing the manic phase.
Lithium is used either alone or in combination with an antidepressant such as Prozac. However, because Prozac and other antidepressant drugs can occasionally induce mania and hypomania,it is often very difficult to deal effectively with the lows in bipolar depressives with drug therapy.