“I feel depressed, do I have bipolar disorder?” | NOW

Every week Edwin de Vaal, general practitioner in Nijmegen, answers a frequently asked or suspicious question from his practice. This week is it: I feel very depressed. Am I then manic-depressive?

What is the difference between depressed and manic depressed?

“I sometimes hear people say they are manic-depressed when they mean ‘very depressed’. But manic-depressive is not a superlative for depression. It’s another type of disorder called bipolar disorder.”

“You then have both depressed and manic periods. In a manic period you are much more active, alert and happy than usual. Patients often have all sorts of insights in this phase and feel very good and strong and self-confident.”

Isn’t that nice

“Many people find this phase very pleasant at the beginning. They are bursting with energy. The problem is that it is very exhausting. Also because people usually sleep very little.”

“Some patients are very impulsive even in their manic phase. This can lead to problems. Their behavior can cause problems in their relationships, at work, in their education or in friendships. I once had a patient who came for a weekend . wasted all his fortune making all sorts of impulse purchases. “

How long is such a manic period?

“A few weeks to sometimes months. This is often followed by a depressive phase of darkness and passivity. The patients often feel worthless and have no energy or desire for anything, just the opposite of the manic phase.”

‚ÄúSome patients choose not to be treated with medication. Sometimes it is possible. “

Edwin de Vaal, general practitioner

Can Manic Depression Be Treated?

“Yes, from a psychiatrist. Medication can reduce or prevent symptoms. Some patients choose not to be treated with medication. Sometimes that is possible. I have a patient who, as soon as she experiences a manic episode, meets with the doctor.” Mental health nurse who works for us. Then she temporarily resumes medication to keep things going. That way, with the help of ourselves, she keeps it under control. “

Can you see a doctor if you are worried about someone?

Often the patients themselves do not notice that they are in a manic phase. After all, they just feel very good! It is therefore usually not the patients themselves who call me, but people in their immediate vicinity. If you are worried about someone, try to raise them with them. Or with someone close to you. If necessary, you can always see a doctor. “

What are the symptoms?

“As mentioned earlier, people with manic depression have periods when they are gloomy and passive and periods when they are much more active and cheerful than normal. Symptoms include: over-optimism, high self-confidence, much less need for sleep, and more Sex Drive During this phase, people often speak and think much faster, which means that sometimes they cannot be followed.