What Causes Bipolar Disorder
2013 Bipolar Update
Bipolar is a medical condition that can create havoc in the life of the person who has it as well as those around them. For this reason there is a great deal of research going on as to what causes bipolar disorder.
There are different types or degrees of bipolar disorder which can begin at anytime but usually start showing signs during late adolescence or early adulthood. The condition is many times triggered by a very stressful event, but once it starts it seems to get worse. The main three types of bipolar disorders are Bipolar I, Bipolar II and Cyclothymia.
Before discussing what causes bipolar disorder, I will give a short definition of the main group of bipolar disorders for anyone who may not know the various signs and symptoms.
Bipolar I is the more serious of the bipolar disorders. Individuals with Bipolar I have episodes of mania and depression. During the manic stage the sufferers of the illness are hyper energetic and easily distracted. They need very little sleep and in some instances experience delusions and grandiose ideas about there abilities. In most cases they act irrationally and exhibit risky behavior including drug or alcohol abuse and unsafe sexual encounters. When the depression episode appears their personality is totally the opposite. They want to stay in bed more than usual and feel that life in general is not very appeasing.
Bipolar II individuals have less manic and depression episodes and they are not as severe. The main difference between Bipolar I and Bipolar II is the Bipolar II individual does not have the delusions and grandiose thoughts of the Bipolar I.
Cyclothymia is a mild form of bipolar disorder and its symptoms occur even less frequently than the Bipolar II individuals. However, if left untreated it is very likely it will turn into one of the more serious disorders.
The above definitions are of course very brief and if you would like more detailed information you may want to read some of our large selection of articles on what causes bipolar disorder.
Because of the seriousness of bipolar disorders there are many studies going on as to what causes bipolar disorder. By having a better knowledge of the causes, the medical community will be able to treat the disorders more efficiently and with even better results.
Because bipolar disorders are a mental condition instead of a physical one, it is much more difficult to pinpoint the exact cause. However, studies have shown there are factors that seem to be prevalent in those with bipolar disorders.
Two of the main factors that are being vigorously studied as to what causes bipolar disorder are genetics and environment. The reason for this is that in a large number of cases there is more than one person with a bipolar disorder in the same family.
While there are those in the medical field who feel the environmental situation could be part of the cause, ( everyone in the family is living under the same physical and mental conditions) most feel that genetics are the main factor.
A number of studies have been made that show if one identical twin has a bipolar disorder the other twin is 80 percent more likely to have it. In fraternal twin this percentage is only 16 percent. This points to the fact that genetics plays a very important role as one of the causes of bipolar disorder. The reason for this is that fraternal twins come from separately fertilized eggs while identical twins comes from the same egg which has split. This means identical twins have the exact same genetic material.
There are other genetic studies being done concerning neurotransmitters. Those doing research in this area have known for many years that the neurotransmitter system has a role to play in what causes bipolar disorders. The reason for this knowledge is that drugs that altar the neurotransmitter system also give relief to the bipolar individual.
Although there is still a lot of research to be done there have been great strides in the treatment of bipolar disorder. There are now very efficient drugs which can keep the condition under control as long as the patient continues to take them and follow their physicians orders. There are also other methods used that have been developed over years of study that are very helpful.
If you feel you or someone you care about has a bipolar disorder you should see that medical advice is obtained. There is no reason to be burdened with this condition with all the help that is now available.
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