Manic depression is the term sometimes used to describe what is now called bipolar disorder type 1. It is one of the most disabling mental illnesses. To be diagnosed with manic depression or Bipolar disorder, you must meet criteria for mania AND have had a major depressive episode.
The core symptoms of mania are either euphoria or irritability as well as increased energy and goal oriented activity (projects, ideas for businesses or projects, etc). These symptoms must occur for one week and be accompanied by at least three (if high energy mood is present) or four if irritable mood is present:
-Grandiosity (increased self-esteem)
-Rapid speech or pressured speech (speaking fast and without thinking before speaking)
-Rapid switching of ideas or racing thoughts (talking about all kinds of things quickly all in one stream of thought)
-Increased goal-directed activity (working on ideas and projects more than usual)
-Excessive involvement in pleasurable activities (gambling, shopping, sexual activity, etc)
Manic symptoms by definition must impair functioning in one of many areas including, school/professional or interpersonal relationships, be bad enough to require hospitalization or there may be psychosis (delusions and hallucinations) AND at the same time, the symptoms are not the direct result of a substance or other medical condition.
If you think you have had mania and are not sure, evaluation and treatment by a board certified psychiatrist is highly recommended as bipolar depression is very treatment resistant and causes severe impairment including lost productivity at work, severe strain on interpersonal relationships as well as possible suicide attempts and psychiatric hospitalizations. If you have been depressed and think you may have had mania, please get evaluated.