Mental illness is something that many people are very afraid of. Not only are they afraid that they may get it and do not want to, but they may also be afraid of people who have it. It can be difficult to interact with someone who does have an illness that you do not understand. This is why it is a good idea to understand more about these illnesses.
Manic depression is another word for bipolar disorder. This means that the sufferer will have bouts of depression and bouts of mania. Many people confuse the condition with depression. However, although bipolar disorder does have symptoms of depression, it also has symptoms of mania as well. Some of the possible symptoms are described below.
Psychotic symptoms (delusions, hallucinations, and catatonia) sometimes occur as part of a very severe major depressive episode or manic episode. Most often, but not always, the content of the delusions or hallucinations matches the mood of the episode. If you are depressed, you are likely to have delusions of unreasonable worthlessness and guilt (you are the worst person in the world and deserve to be punished for some unspeakable transgression); or delusions of hopelessness (you have a terminal illness that will kill you in a year); or nihilistic delusions (the world, or at least your world, is about to collapse).
A clinically depressed mother develops the conviction that she is responsible for her daughter’s multiple sclerosis because she remembers eating some bad-tasting meat while she was breast-feeding. Auditory hallucinations in depression commonly consist of an accusatory or critical voice chiding the person for deficiencies, defects, and past crimes.
Manic patients, on the other hand, characteristically develop grandiose or persecutory delusions, and often both together. For example, a manic woman is so convinced that the screenplay she has written will be a surefire hit she runs up enormous credit card bills in advance of her anticipated multimillion-dollar deal. When no producer offers to buy the screenplay, she discovers there is a Hollywood plot to keep her outside the inner circle. Grandiose hallucinations may involve a direct visual or auditory communication with God, the Pope, the President, or some other famous person alive or dead.
Occasionally, Psychotic Mood Disorder is accompanied by “mood incongruent” delusions, so named because their content is bizarre and unrelated to the depressed or manic mood. For example, a depressed man believes an influencing machine has been installed in his head to control his behavior; or a manic woman believes that her ovaries were removed by extraterrestrials; or an immobile catatonic woman believes that if she moves her finger (even the slightest bit) her daughter in a distant city will die of mysterious causes. When the psychotic symptoms are mood incongruent, the Mood Disorder may be especially persistent and difficult to treat.
According to the diagnostic manual, you have Depression with Psychotic Features or Mania with Psychotic Features if:
- You have a depression severe enough to conform to the criteria for Major Depressive Disorder or a mania severe enough to conform to the criteria for Bipolar I Disorder.
- Your delusions, hallucinations, or catatonic behavior occur only during the times when you are depressed or manic and these symptoms disappear when you recover from the Mood Disorder.