Depression and mania

Depression refers to a persistently low mood.


Depression refers to a persistently low mood. Mania on the other hand is characterised by a high energy state, extreme elation and a loss of inhibitions. Episodes of depression and mania can alternate, in which case we speak of bipolar affective disorder. Exercise, sunlight, music, psychotherapy or medication can help with this condition.


Main symptoms of depression

  • Severely low mood over a longer period (at least two weeks)
    • Feeling hopeless
    • Despair
    • Feeling inferior
    • Loss of vitality
  • Loss of interest
  • Lack of motivation
  • Tiring quickly
Other symptoms of depression
  • Low sense of self-worth
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Reduced concentration and obsessive thoughts going round and round the mind
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling agitated
  • Sleep disorders
  • Digestive disorders
  • Loss of libido
  • Suicidal thoughts

Main symptoms of mania

  • Elevated mood (usually seen as inappropriate by others)
  • Irritability
  • Over-estimation of own capabilities
Other symptoms of mania
  • Hyperactivity
  • Urge to talk
  • Racing mind
  • Inappropriate behaviour
  • Reduced need for sleep
  • Heightened libido
  • Frivolous, wasteful or risky behaviour

Bipolar affective disorder

  • Alternating episodes of depression and mania

Causes and treatment


  • Unclear in most cases
Risk factors

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Blood test (measurement of hormones)
  • ECG (electrocardiogram)
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of the head
Possible therapies
  • Psychotherapy
  • Medication (antidepressants, lithium)

What can I do myself?

  • Exercise (e.g. walking, doing sport)
  • Listening to or making music
  • Getting enough sunshine and fresh air
  • Trying to talk about the situation

When to see a doctor?

  • Persistently negative mood
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Loss of interest
  • Inappropriate euphoria combined with irritability
  • Lots of energy in spite of abnormally little sleep (few hours per day)

Further information

Swiss Forum for Mood and Anxiety Disorders SFMAD (Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Angst und Depression SGAD)

Exclusion of liability

CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.