It’s normal to feel bursts of both sadness and joy in life. But what if these emotional states seem to last longer and cut deeper than normal? Depression is a mental health disorder characterized by a persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities. Bipolar disorder, previously referred to as manic depression, is a mental disorder that leads to episodes of dramatic mood swings, ranging from depressive lows to manic highs.
Possible causes of depression include a combination of biological, psychological and social sources of distress. Certain mental health research suggests these factors cause changes in brain function, including altered activity of specific neural circuits in the brain. The persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest in life’s enjoyment that accompanies major depression can lead to behavioral and physical symptoms that affect sleep and energy levels, concentration and even the will to live. The worst cases end in suicide.
The exact cause of bipolar disorder isn’t known, but a combination of genetics, environment and altered brain chemistry and/or structure can play a major role. Manic episodes may include symptoms such as elevated energy, a reduced need for sleep and even a loss of touch with reality, or dissociative state. Depressive episodes, on the other hand, may be characterized by low energy and motivation and loss of interest in daily activities. Mood episodes typically last a period of days, but can also extend over a week, month or longer. They can also be accompanied by suicidal thoughts.
Here at BOLD Health, we understand the challenges presented by depression and bipolar disorder. We have extensive experience and deep insight into diagnosing and treating these challenging conditions. Turn to us when you or someone you love is struggling, and we’ll help guide you to better days.