What Causes Bipolar Disorder
The cause is unknown.
Genetics and biology seem to play a role.
Bipolar disorder is more common in people who have a first-degree relativea parent or siblingwith the condition.
People with bipolar disorder undergo physical and chemical changes in their brains.
There is hope that these discoveries will help lead to one day determining a cause.
How Do Medications Factor In
Treating bipolar disorder with medication can be something of a delicate balance. Antidepressants that help ease depressive episodes can sometimes trigger manic episodes.
If your healthcare provider recommends medication, they might prescribe an antimanic medication such as lithium along with an antidepressant. These medications can help prevent a manic episode.
As you work to develop a treatment plan with your care provider, let them know about any medications you take. Some medications can make both depressive and manic episodes more severe.
Also tell your care provider about any substance use, including alcohol and caffeine, since they can sometimes lead to mood episodes.
Some substances, including cocaine, ecstasy, and amphetamines, can produce a high that resembles a manic episode. Medications that might have a similar effect include:
- high doses of appetite suppressants and cold medications
- prednisone and other steroids
- thyroid medication
If you believe youre experiencing a mood episode or other symptoms of bipolar disorder, its always a good idea to connect with your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
Can Someone With Bipolar Hear Voices
Katie, who has bipolar disorder, describes her experience of hearing voices when she is manic or depressed. Not everyone realises that some sufferers of Bipolar disorder also have psychotic symptoms. These could include delusions, auditory and visual hallucinations. For me, I hear voices.
Read Also: What Is A Depression On A Topographic Map
Bpd Symptoms Vs Bipolar Disorder Symptoms
Although theres some overlap between the two conditions, there are a few differences.
The main differences between BPD and bipolar disorder symptoms are:
The timing of impulsive behaviors
If you have bipolar disorder, your impulsivity tends to happen during periods of mania or hypomania. But if you have BPD, impulsive urges may arise without other symptoms of mania. Impulsive urges may arise anytime or may occur in response to stressors that happen randomly.
During periods of mania, people with bipolar disorder feel more energized and need less sleep. You might feel energized after just a few hours of sleep each night. BPD doesnt involve mania, so youre less likely to notice this.
Mood cycle time
People with BPD have short-lived moods that change within a few hours or days. People with bipolar disorder tend to have mood cycles that last for weeks or months, unless they have rapid-cycling bipolar disorder, in which case the mood cycle will be much shorter.
BPD is characterized by a deep fear of abandonment, which can put immense strain on relationships. People with BPD often struggle to have stable relationships as they fluctuate between extreme like and dislike for people. While people with bipolar disorder might struggle with interpersonal relationships, the fear of abandonment isnt often present.
- abnormal brain structures
- serotonin levels
Rarer Types Of Bipolar Disorder
There are two other types of the disorder that are less common than bipolar I and II. Cyclothymic disorder involves changes in mood and shifts similar to bipolar I and II, but the shifts are often less dramatic in nature. A person with cyclothymic disorder can often function normally without medication, though it may be hard. Over time, a persons changes in mood may develop into a diagnosis of bipolar I or II.
Bipolar disorder not otherwise specified is a general category for a person who only has some symptoms of bipolar disorder. These symptoms are not enough to make a diagnosis of one of the other three types.
While bipolar disorder can be difficult to diagnose, once its identified, it can be treated.
Don’t Miss: Schizophrenia Physiology
What Should You Not Say To A Bipolar Person
Saying them is not going to be helpful.Youre Just Overreacting AgainAnything That Doesnt Kill You Makes You StrongerEverybody Has Mood Swings SometimesEveryone Is a Little Bipolar SometimesYou Are PsychoYoure Acting Like a ManiacI Wish I Was Manic so I Could Get Things DoneMore items
Tip : Develop An Active Daily Routine
Your lifestyle choices, including your sleeping, eating, and exercise patterns, have a significant impact on your moods. There are many things you can do in your daily life to get your symptoms under control and to keep depression and mania at bay.
Build structure into your life. Developing and sticking to a daily schedule can help stabilize the mood swings of bipolar disorder. Include set times for sleeping, eating, socializing, exercising, working, and relaxing. Try to maintain a regular pattern of activity even through emotional ups and downs.
Exercise frequently and avoid sitting for long periods of time.Exercise has a beneficial impact on mood and may reduce the number of bipolar episodes you experience. Aerobic exercise such as running, swimming dancing, climbing or drumming all activities that keep both arms and legs active are especially effective at treating depression. Try to incorporate at least 30 minutes of activity into your daily routine. Ten minutes here and there is just as effective as exercising for longer periods of time. Walking is a good choice for people of all fitness levels.
Keep a strict sleep schedule. Getting too little sleep can trigger mania, so its important to get plenty of rest. For some people, losing even a few hours can cause problems. However, too much sleep can also worsen your mood. The best advice is to maintain a consistent sleep schedule.
Healthy sleep habits for managing bipolar disorder
Also Check: Pristiq Irritability
How Is Nimh Addressing Bipolar Disorder
The National Institute of Mental Health conducts and supports research on bipolar disorder that increases our understanding of its causes and helps develop new treatments. Researchers continue to study genetics and bipolar disorder, brain function, and symptoms in children and teens who have bipolar disorder, as well as family history in health and behavior.
Learn more about NIMHs research priorities and current studies.
What Is The Main Cause Of Bipolar Disorder
Factors that may increase the risk of developing bipolar disorder or act as a trigger for the first episode include: Having a first-degree relative, such as a parent or sibling, with bipolar disorder. Periods of high stress, such as the death of a loved one or other traumatic event. Drug or alcohol abuse.
Also Check: How Long Do Depressive Episodes Last Bipolar
What Are The 4 Types Of Bipolar
Here are the four types of bipolar disorder and how theyre characterized:Bipolar 1. This type of bipolar disorder is characterized by manic episodes, with or without depression symptoms. Bipolar 2. Bipolar 2 disorder is characterized by having both manic and depressive episodes. Cyclothymic disorder. Other types.
What Does It Mean For Our Marriage If My Spouse Has Bipolar Disorder
There are two answers to this question. If you spouse fully accepts the diagnosis and resolves to get treatment, you could begin working together and make the marriage stronger than ever. Many people with bipolar disorder have happy, successful marriages.
If, on the other hand, your spouse refuses treatment, you must learn to protect yourself from abuse. Abuse can take the form of
- Verbal abuse
- Financial abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Physical abuse
We offer a variety of resources to help those with bipolar disorder and their loved ones. One of these is our free e-book, Healthy Living with Bipolar Disorder, which covers all of the basic information you need to know about bipolar. View a list of the rest of our programs here.
You May Like: Does Pristiq Help With Anxiety
Chemical Imbalance In The Brain
Bipolar disorder is widely believed to be the result of chemical imbalances in the brain.
The chemicals responsible for controlling the brain’s functions are called neurotransmitters, and include noradrenaline, serotonin and dopamine.
There’s some evidence that if there’s an imbalance in the levels of 1 or more neurotransmitters, a person may develop some symptoms of bipolar disorder.
For example, there’s evidence that episodes of mania may occur when levels of noradrenaline are too high, and episodes of depression may be the result of noradrenaline levels becoming too low.
The Role Of Mitochondria
Experts also believe mitochondria which you may remember from science class as the cells that generate energy, aka the powerhouse of the cell may have something to do with the development of mood disorders.
When cells dont produce or metabolize energy as they typically would, the resulting imbalances in brain energy could lead to the changes in mood and behavior often seen with bipolar disorder.
Recommended Reading: Feritriphobia
Is Developing Insight Into Bipolar Disorder Really Worth It
Whether working towards bipolar disorder insight is worth it depends on who you ask. In my opinion, insight into bipolar disorder is what will get you through the hardest times of the illness but also what will make the everyday times more livable. There is the saying that Ignorance is bliss, but for those with a serious mental illness this just isnt true.
The statements that are true for bipolar disorder is Knowledge is power, or, more to my point, Insight is power. Any type of learning you do can increase your understanding and control over bipolar disorder, but none will do it like true insight into your own bipolar disorder can.
How Is Bipolar Disorder Developed
Bipolar disorder is frequently inherited, with genetic factors accounting for approximately 80% of the cause of the condition. Bipolar disorder is the most likely psychiatric disorder to be passed down from family. If one parent has bipolar disorder, theres a 10% chance that their child will develop the illness.
Also Check: Does Pristiq Help With Anxiety
Mental Health Treatment Locator
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides this online resource for locating mental health treatment facilities and programs. The Mental Health Treatment Locator section of the Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator lists facilities providing mental health services to persons with mental illness. Find a facility in your state at www.nimh.nih.gov/findhelp.
Symptoms Of Late Onset Bipolar Disorder
One of the reasons bipolar disorder is often misdiagnosed in seniors is because the symptoms are slightly different.
According to professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University, Michael First, M.D., seniors seldom exhibit the classic signs of a manic episode. Instead of feeling elated and displaying risky behaviors, seniors are more likely to show signs of agitation and irritability. This is often confused with the normal feelings of aging, leading to misdiagnosis.
Some of the other symptoms commonly noted in seniors with bipolar disorder include,
When bipolar disorder does appear in adults over 60, the symptoms can be sudden and severe. It often seems to cycle faster between depression and mania, and some seniors report experiencing both episodes at the same time.
Seniors with bipolar disorder frequently experience problems with cognitive function that often include,
- Problems with memory
- Loss of perception and judgement
- Difficulty problem solving
Since these are also common signs of dementia and Alzheimers, the bipolar disorder is often misdiagnosed.
Recommended Reading: Schizotypy And Schizophrenia
Brain Structure And Function
Researchers are learning that the brain structure and function of people with bipolar disorder may be different from the brain structure and function of people who do not have bipolar disorder or other psychiatric disorders. Learning about the nature of these brain changes helps doctors better understand bipolar disorder and may in the future help predict which types of treatment will work best for a person with bipolar disorder. At this time, diagnosis is based on symptoms rather than brain imaging or other diagnostic tests.
Develop A Wellness Toolbox
If you spot any warning signs of mania or depression, its important to act swiftly. In such times, its helpful to have a wellness toolbox to draw from. A wellness toolbox consists of coping skills and activities you can do to maintain a stable mood or to get better when youre feeling off.
The coping techniques that work best will be unique to your situation, symptoms, and preferences. It takes experimentation and time to find a winning strategy. However, many people with bipolar disorder have found the following tools to be helpful in reducing symptoms and maintaining wellness:
- Talk to a supportive person.
- Get a full eight hours of sleep.
- Cut back on your activities.
- Attend a support group.
- Call your doctor or therapist.
- Do something fun or creative, or write in your journal.
- Take time for yourself to relax and unwind.
- Increase your exposure to light.
- Ask for extra help from loved ones.
- Cut back on sugar, alcohol, and caffeine.
- Increase or decrease the stimulation in your environment.
Don’t Miss: How To Cure Schizophrenia Permanently
How To Cope With Bipolar Disorder
No matter how down or out of control you feel, its important to remember that youre not powerless when it comes to bipolar disorder. Beyond the treatment you get from your doctor or therapist, there are many things you can do for yourself to reduce your symptoms and stay on track.
Living well with bipolar disorder requires certain adjustments. Like diabetics who take insulin or recovering alcoholics who avoid drinking, if you have bipolar disorder, its important to make healthy choices for yourself. Making these healthy choices will help you keep your symptoms under control, minimize mood episodes, and take control of your life.
Managing bipolar disorder starts with proper treatment, including medication and therapy. But there is so much more you can do to help yourself on a day-to-day basis. These tips can help you influence the course of your illness, enabling you to take greater control over your symptoms, to stay well longer, and to quickly rebound from any mood episode or relapse.
Bipolar Disorder: What Causes Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that results in extreme changes of mood, energy and ability to function. Although research has improved our understanding of why someone might develop bipolar disorder, the exact cause is still not known.
Scientists believe that bipolar disorder is the result of a complicated relationship between genetic and environmental factors. Research suggests that a person is born with a “vulnerability” to bipolar illness, which means that they are more prone to developing the disorder. However, this is not the only factor in determining whether a person will become ill. Environmental factors such as stressful life events also appear to play a role in that they can lead to the onset of the illness or “trigger” a relapse of symptoms.
Family, twin and adoption studies show that bipolar disorder can run in families although not everyone with a family history will develop this disorder. People who have first-degree relatives with a mood disorder are more likely to have a mood disorder. For example, a person with one parent who has bipolar has a 15 to 30% risk for developing the disorder.
It is important to remember that what is stressful to one person may not be stressful to another.
A person’s coping skills or their “resiliency” will also impact on how stressful the event is to that person.
About the author
Don’t Miss: Does Pristiq Treat Anxiety
Women And Bipolar Disorder
- Women and people with bipolar II disorder are significantly more likely to experience periods of rapid cycling than men with the same condition. . Depression, anxiety and perceived stress in women with and without PCOS: A community-based study. Psychological Medicine, 49)
- Other research findings indicate that women with bipolar disorder may have more depressive episodes and more mixed episodes than do men with the illness.
How To Develop Insight Into Bipolar Disorder
In my last article, I talked about how many with bipolar disorder dont have insight so, the next question is, how do you develop insight into bipolar disorder if you recognize you dont have it? Developing bipolar disorder insight isnt necessarily easy it requires looking inward and doing the work but it is possible.
I like to think my first book, Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar, whets ones whistle for insight. What I hear from people from people who read it is Oh my god! I thought that was just me, or I had no idea that was the bipolar, or I feel like I could have written that exact thing.
What those people are experiencing is insight into bipolar disorder in new ways.
So, obviously, if you want to develop insight into bipolar disorder, you should read my book.
Here are a few other ways.
You May Like: What Is The Phobia Of Throwing Up
Bipolar Disorder: How Common Is It In Seniors
The exact number of seniors with bipolar disorder is unknown.
A recent study estimated that one in ten new cases of bipolar disorder occur in adults over 50, but many researchers believe that these numbers are too high.
The Veterans Administration and other organizations found the following data in their studies on how bipolar disorder affects the elderly.
- 25 percent of patients with bipolar disorder treated at VA hospitals were 65 years of age or older.
- 6 percent of older patients with bipolar disorder were recently diagnosed with the illness.
An independent clinic study conducted outside of the VA noted that 41 percent of the participants ages 18 to 70 first noticed their bipolar disorder symptoms after they had turn 40 years old.
Researchers are not indicating that the disease is suddenly increasing in frequency, only that bipolar disorder in seniors might have always been more common than they thought only it was either undiagnosed or attributed to other disorders/conditions.
Studies also found that bipolar disorder occurs equally in men and women. When it appears in adults over 50, women are twice as likely to exhibit symptoms as men.