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What You Need to Know about Manic Depression in Utah

What You Need to Know about Manic Depression in Utah

Also called bipolar disorder, manic depression is a mood disorder in which an individual swings uncontrollably from periods of depressed mood to periods of elevated mood. Rather than general moodiness, however, these periods are exaggerated and typically last anywhere from a few days to several months. Still, there are a number of the mental disorders and medical conditions and controlled substances that can mimic these conditions.

Thus, the first thing a lot of Utahans want to know about manic depression is: Do they or someone they know have it? You can learn more about bipolar subtypes and symptoms here, but there are also a number of local Utah factors that may come into play.


Social Pressures vs. Social Resources

Family and other social groups may react in all sorts of ways to an individual who is not acting like themselves due to manic depression. Likewise, an individual may be reluctant to recognize that they are not acting like themselves potentially because of a mental illness. Any number of circumstances may create a stigmatizing environment that makes it more difficult to access treatment.

The initial onset of any mental disorder is often a disruption to daily life, but in the end, these social connections often serve more as a resource than a hindrance. Specifically by helping to monitor a change in behavior and by participating in mental health therapy recommendations, family members and close friends can be a life-saver.


The Indoor-Outdoor Dilemma for Manic Depression

It’s no wonder that many long- and short-term residents of Utah have a strong affinity for the outdoors and mountains. Yet, suicide rates are positively correlated with living at higher altitudes. And there is a growing community of scientists who believe that hypoxia is the prime culprit. Moreover, the effects of lower oxygen on serotonin and dopamine may be of special concern to someone with bipolar disorder in Utah.

The trouble is that it’s tough to say what the most appropriate response is: Staying in the Salt Lake Valley or other low-lying areas with cold-weather air pollution isn’t exactly a mood-stabilizer for most people. Neither is staying cooped up all day in the house. On the other hand, this information might give pause to someone with a mood disorder who is planning on spending an extended amount of time at higher elevations.


Treatment Tendencies

In Utah, there seems to be a higher use of antidepressants, despite average rates of major depression overall. There are a number of reasons why this might be the case, including the possibility that individuals are more likely to seek help from a physician than a mental health professional. The thing is certain types of antidepressant use can be downright dangerous for individuals with manic depression. Physicians typically screen patients for bipolar disorder before prescribing medications, but with an unpredictable course of this disorder, it may take some time to distinguish bipolar from major depression.


Be Honest with Your Utah Health Professional

This is commonsense advice of course, but the point here is that the stakes are sky-high. Failing to answer some questions truthfully may make it more difficult for a clinician to identify a manic episode or to distinguish bipolar symptoms from those of schizophrenia, borderline personality, ADHD, or other mental disorders.



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