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Manic Depression, AKA Bipolar Disorder, Gets New Focus After Catherine Zeta-Jones' Diagnosis
by Greg Stacy; Apr 19, 2011
Manic depression, properly known as bipolar disorder, is receiving new attention following news that Catherine Zeta Jones has been diagnosed with the condition.
Bipolar disorder used to be known as manic depression, but while the term manic depression is still often used by laymen, mental health professionals now use the term bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder is categorized as an affective or mood disorder and it causes extreme mood swings. These mood swings should not be confused with the mood swings that many of us experience in our lives.
"The mood swings of bipolar [disorder] are more severe, longer lasting, and maybe most significant of all, they interfere with some important aspect of functioning, such as ability to work at one's job, or manage one's home, or be a successful student." Matthew Rudorfer of the National Institute of Mental Health tells MD.com.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about six million adults in the US suffer from the condition.
Manic depression was named after the two phases of the bipolar disorder. The "manic" phase of the condition can be characterized by euphoria, aggression and extreme self confidence. When the sufferer gets hit with the condition's "depression" phase, they can quickly fall into anxiety and profound hopelessness.
In the most extreme form of bipolar disorder, a sufferer in the manic stage can become a danger to themselves or others, while they can become suicidal during the depressive phase. Fortunately many people with bipolar disorder can successfully treat their condition.
Yesterday Zeta-Jones' publicist confirmed that earlier this month the actress had spent five days at a psychiatric hospital in Connecticut, where she received treatment for her bipolar disorder. The actress was reportedly recovering from a rough year, which included her husband, actor Michael Douglas, struggling against cancer. Following her release, Zeta-Jones returned to work this week on two upcoming films.