A mental condition made up of a cycle of alternating periods of mania and depression.
Mania: intense positive emotion
Depression: intense negative emotion
Periods of mania and depression
Changes in energy and activity levels
Manic episodes that last at least 7 days (or episodes so severe that it results in hospital care)
Depressive episodes lasting at least two weeks
Episodes of depression mixed with manic are also possible
A doctor may evaluate a patient if the symptoms aren't apparently caused by a different health concern.
In some cases, patients are referred to a psychiatrist.
The patient has to meet specific criteria for mania and depression, including a heightened or irritable mood and persistence in fluctuations of energy and activity level. These must have lasted at least 7 days, or less if symptoms were severe enough to need hospitalization
There isn't one particular cause for bipolar disorder. Doctors have found several factors that can impact or influence the disorder, however.
2.6% of American adults, 5.7 million, are effected by bipolar disorder.
The average age effected
by this disorder is 25.
Men and women are effected equally.
MORE THAN 2 in 3
have at least one close relative with the illness or with unipolar major depression
BPD usually develops around age 25, or between the ages of 15 and 25. At least half of all cases are diagnosed before the age of 25.
Depression & BPD are associated with strange thyroid function. People with BPD often have hypothyroidism, an under-active thyroid.
Bipolar II disorder is more common in women than in men. It's not clear why.
Brains of people with bipolar disorder may differ from the brains of people without it.
Neurotransmitter imbalances play a key role in many mood disorders
People who will get BPD due to genetics may not have noticeable symptoms until an environmental factor triggers it
A "Significant Loss"
A Traumatic Event
DO GENETICS PLAY A ROLE?
- Genetics: people with certain genes are more likely to develop bipolar disorder
- Family history: it tends to run in families; children with a parent or sibling who has bipolar disorder are much more likely to develop it
How is the family of a person with bipolar disorder effected?
- Feeling guilty, may even grieve after the diagnosis
- Disruption in regular routines
- Having to deal with unusual or dangerous behavior
- Financial stresses as a result of reduced income or excessive spending
- Strained marital or family relationships
- Changes in family roles
- Difficulty in maintaining relationships outside the family
- Health problems as a result of stress
The family members of someone with bipolar disorder are basically of given the responsibility over the individual with the disorder. They have to take care of the erratic behavior, they can become very confused by this person's actions before knowing the diagnosis. They also then feel a responsibility to make sure they get help from a doctor.
Some websites said that after hearing the new about an individuals diagnosis, the family members tend to respond just as they would if it was a diagnosis to a physical disorder or disease.
There is still work being done to figure out how the brain of someone with bipolar disorder is different from that of a person w/o the disorder.
Brain cells: The loss or damage of brain cells in the hippocampus can contribute to not only bipolar disorders, but many mood disorders. The hippocampus is the part of the brain that's center of emotion, memory, and the autonomic nervous system.
Neurotransmitters: Neurotransmitters are chemicals that help brain cells communicate and regulate mood. Different neurotransmitters are for different feelings. Imbalances with neurotransmitters are linked to BPD.
Mitochondrial problems: Problems in the mitochondria might play a role in mental disorders, including BPD. If the mitochondrion doesn’t function normally, it could lead to change in patterns of energy production and use. This may explain some of the behaviors seen in people with psychiatric disorders.
MRIs on the brains of people with BPD found elevated signals in certain areas of the brain. These particular areas help coordinate movement, suggesting abnormal cellular function.
Enlarged ventricle spaces (spaces which carry cerebrospinal fluid through and around the brain) were found in people that have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. That indicate less brain tissue is present within the brain; either deterioration has occurred or bipolar brains develop differently than normal brain controls.
Another thing that was found was that bipolar brains tend to contain an abnormal amount of white matter; white matter helps neurotransmission. People who have these hyperintensities have an occurrence of bipolar disorder that is three times as likely as the general population.
Next, there is a reduction in glial cells within bipolar patients. Glial cells insulate neurons in your brain, this helps them communicate more efficiently. A smaller amount of total glial cells means that the brain doesn't communicate as efficiently as their normal counterparts; this is commonly seen in bipolar patients. Fluctuations are most likely the result of the bipolar brain having difficulty communicating with itself (because of white matter and/or glial cell degeneration).
There is some evidence to suggest that brain parts work harder and possibly faster during periods of mania.
Using these techniques, researchers have found abnormalities in areas of the bipolar brain important for regulation of mood and logical connections between language and memory
NEUROTRANSMITTERS & THE
HOW THEY WORK
Mood-modifying drugs are administered to patients with bipolar disorder.
Different drugs are administered for periods of mania and periods of depression.
Lithium is a very commonly prescribed drug to treat bipolar disorder. Although it takes longer to kick in, it's thought to modify the production and turnover of serotonin and dopamine.
- Olanzapine: prevents excessive activity of dopamine
- Aripiprazole: increase dopamine activity in some areas, decreases it in others
Anticonvulsants stabilize the electrical activity in the brain, which helps to calm episodes of manic and stabilize moods.
Valproate: an anticonvulsant which increases the amount of a natural nerve-calming chemical called GABA; also reduces the amount of another nerve-calming chemical called glutamate.
(Glutamate levels are higher during mania and depression.)
Can provide support, education, and guidance to people with bipolar disorder and their families.
Talk therapy is commonly combined with drugs as an attempt to treat a patients bipolar disorder.
Therapy is a collaborative form of treatment based on the relationship between an individual and a psychologist.