So, what causes Bipolar disorder?
It appears to be an interplay of genetic and physiological factors, coupled with stressful triggers, that causes Bipolar disorder…
Manic depression, also called bipolar disorder, causes severe mood swings that can last for weeks or even months.
Everyone feels happy or sad sometimes. For someone with manic depression, however, these mood swings are much more intense. Scientists have not identified a single factor what causes bipolar disorder. Instead, it may have one or more of several different causes. These may be broken down into genetic, environmental and physiological causes.
There are three types of manic depression.
Bipolar Type I is characterized by at least one manic episode. A manic episode is a feeling of intense elation, restlessness and loss of inhibitions and over-activity. Sufferers during a manic episode may sleep for only three or four hours a night if at all.
Finally, there is Cyclothymia, where the mood swings last longer but they are less severe.
Genes is considered to be a contributing factor.
If one of your relatives has manic depression, there is a reasonable chance that you will develop it, too. Chromosome numbers 6 and 8 appear to have been implicated. Children of bipolar parents have an eight percent chance of developing the condition, compared with one percent in the general population.
A chemical imbalance in the brain may cause the disorder. Nerve signals travel from one neuron to another by way of chemicals called neurotransmitters. These include norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. It is possible that excess levels of norepinephrine may cause a manic episode.
During a depressive episode, levels of this neurotransmitter may be excessively low. The picture, however, is not that simple, as there are other neurotransmitters involved.
Mood swings can also be triggered by stress. Abuse; either physical, emotional or sexual, may trigger an episode. Bereavement or the breakdown of a close relationship may also be a trigger.
Not all stressful triggers are negative experiences. A positive change, such as a marriage or a birth can also make a contribution.
Once diagnosed, the condition can be treated or controlled, although certain risk factors may trigger a recurrence. Failure to comply with medication carries a high risk of recurrence, as do alcohol or drug abuse. Other risk factors include poor support systems. For example, the lack of caring friends or relatives or an erratic lifestyle.
Manic depression can lead to psychosocial disturbances.
For example, Bipolar Type I and Bipolar Type II are associated with a high absentee rate at work. There is also a higher rate of suicide attempts and hospital admissions with these conditions. While both conditions have high rates of attempted suicides, Type II sufferers seem to have fewer hospital admissions than Type I, and consequently miss fewer days at work.
So, what causes bipolar disorder? It appears to be an interplay of genetic and physiological factors, coupled with stressful triggers.
Complying with medication, adopting a stable lifestyle, and developing healthy coping strategies, may all keep the condition under control.
It is essential to consult a medical professional and not attempt self diagnosis.