The cause of bipolar disorder and how to deal with it

Men and women are diagnosed with bipolar disorder in equal numbers. However, the main symptoms of the disorder may be different between the two genders. In many cases, a woman with bipolar disorder may:

The cause of bipolar disorder and how to deal with it

Bipolar Disorder and Neurochemistry The brain uses a number of chemicals as messengers to communicate with other parts of the brain and nervous system. Since they are messengers, they typically come from one place and go to another to deliver their messages. Where one neuron or nerve cell ends, another one begins.

In between two linked neurons is a tiny space or gap called a synapse. In a simple scenario, one cell sends a neurotransmitter message across this synaptic junction and the next cell receives the signal by catching the messenger chemical as it floats across the synapse in a receptor structure.

Importantly, neurons cannot communicate with each other except by means of this synaptic chemical message. The brain would cease to function in an instant if chemical messengers were somehow removed. By providing a mechanism for allowing neurons to communicate with one another, neurotransmitters literally enable the brain to function.

There are millions and millions of individual synapses in the brain. The neurotransmitter traffic and activity occurring inside those synapses is constant and complicated.

The cause of bipolar disorder and how to deal with it

There are many different kinds of neurotransmitter chemicals in the brain. The neurotransmitters that are implicated in bipolar illness include dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, GABA gamma-aminobutyrateglutamate, and acetylcholine.

Researchers also suspect that another class of neurotransmitter chemicals known as neuropeptides including endorphins, somatostatin, vasopressin, and oxytocin play an important role in both normal and bipolar brains.

Measuring neurotransmitters, their chemical variants, locations, and their effects constitute a large area of study in bipolar research. It is known that these chemicals are in some way unbalanced in the bipolar brain compared to normal brain. For example, GABA is observed to be lower in the blood and spinal fluid of bipolar patients, while oxytocin-active neurons are increased in bipolar patients, but the relevancy of these findings to overall brain functioning in bipolar and normal individuals is not yet understood.

Whether the presence, absence, or change in these chemicals is a cause or outcome of bipolar disorder remains to be determined, but the importance of neurochemicals in creating bipolar disease is indisputable Bipolar Disorder and Endocrinology Just as the brain relies on neurochemical messengers for communication, the rest of the body, including the brain depends, in some part, on the endocrine system.

The endocrine system uses hormones as chemical messengers. Hormones circulate from one organ to another through the bloodstream. The target or destination organ interprets the hormonal signals sent by the sending organ and acts on them accordingly. Endocrinology is the branch of medicine dealing with the endocrine system and its specific hormones.

The hypothalamus is an exceptionally complex region. Of particular note with regard to bipolar conditions is the fact that the hypothalamus coordinates circadian and seasonal body rhythms See our section below on Body Rhythms for more information.

The thyroid, an endocrine organ located in the neck which produces thyroid hormone, has been the focus of much mood disorder research. Depression is frequently associated with low levels of thyroid hormone, a condition known as Hypothyroidism, while mood elevation is often associated with high levels of thyroid hormone Hyperthyroidism.

Treating hypothyroidism by supplementing or replacing thyroid hormone in the form of Synthroid, for instance sometimes helps alleviate depression.

The cause of bipolar disorder and how to deal with it

Similarly, reducing levels of high thyroid hormone with lithium may ease manic symptoms. Given that up to half of patients with rapid cycling form of bipolar disease also have hypothyroidism, the involvement of the thyroid gland in producing or enabling bipolar disorders for some patients is a strong possibility.Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that causes extreme mood swings.

Other names are manic depression or manic-depressive illness. People of all ages, male or female, can have it. Most of the time, people with bipolar disorder have depression, with the same symptoms as unipolar (major) depression.

Bipolar depression often begins before age 25 -- sometimes in the teen years -- with symptoms such as too much sleep or too large an appetite. A study found that bipolar disorder progresses differently in patients who also binge eat.

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness in which a person experiences extreme variances in thinking, mood, and behavior, known as mania and depression. Bipolar Disorder Self Help - 50 natural ways to overcome bipolar disorder without drugs. Bipolar disorder symptoms, solutions. Adult, youth, bipolar children.

Non-profit NJ educational site. Bipolar disorder, to put it simply, is a brain disorder causing unusual mood changes and shifts in energy and level of activity.

These moods are known as manic, hypomanic, and depressive episodes.

Bipolar Disorder | Psychology Today