Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder (BD) is a cyclic affective spectrum disorder characterized by alternating episodes of depression, mania or hypomania, and euthymia (normal mood). The DSM-V classifies two types. Type I BD patients experience manic episodes, which involve extreme elevations in mood that can manifest as euphoria, irritability, irrational behavior, and sometimes psychosis. Type II BD patients experience hypomanic episodes, which are less intense elevations of mood resulting in increased energy and a generally positive affect. Cyclothymia is also a condition classified under the bipolar spectrum, which involves cycling subsyndromal symptoms of depression and hypomania. Non-diagnostic symptoms of BD include various cognitive deficits and structural abnormalities, as well as extremely high rates of suicidality. The causes of BD are not yet well known, however the general consensus is that both genetics and the environment contribute greatly to the risk of developing the disorder, often through neurological pathways.[1] The risk for developing the disorder seems to be equal across all demographics, which results in a prevalence of approximately 1% for type I and 4% for the rest of the spectrum.[1] It is important that research into the physiological mechanisms of the disorder continues in order to better understand how to treat it. Currently, treatment most commonly involves mood stabilizers such as lithium, which must be taken in combination with thyroid hormone. The effectiveness of various psychological therapies and a wide variety of alternative medications are also being investigated. A greater understanding of the physical aspects of the disorder will also hopefully influence the psychosocial aspects surrounding BD, including inaccurate stereotypes promoted by the media and the resulting negative stigma associated with the disorder.

1. Smith, D. J., Whitham, E. A. & Ghaemi, S. N. Bipolar Disorder. Neurobiol Psychiat Disord, volume 106 of Handbook of Clin Neurol. Elsevier, Edinburgh, first edition, 251-263 (2012).

Causes of Bipolar Disorder

main article: Causes of Bipolar Disorder
author: Danyang Liu

Bipolar Disorder [3]
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Individuals with bipolar disorder experience
alternating manic and depressive episodes

The current consensus is that bipolar disorder is a multifactorial disorder and its cause will vary from one afflicted individual to the next. There is evidence to support the widely accepted notion that bipolar disorder appears to arise from a complex interaction of several genetic, neurological, and environmental factors. The strong genetic basis of this disorder stems from family and twin studies showing that individuals with first-degree relatives who are afflicted by bipolar disorder are at an increased risk of developing the disorder themselves, in addition to several genes that have been identified to be potentially implicated in the disease.[1] Neurological causes associated with manic-depressive disorder include abnormalities in the size and activity of various brain structures and irregular signaling of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, and glutamate.[1] Additionally, abnormalities associated with neurological circuits that regulate mood and the circadian rhythm have also been shown to play a role in facilitating manic-depressive disorder symptoms.[2] Finally, environmental stressors, such as childhood trauma or major life changes, oftentimes may trigger the onset of bipolar disorder or exacerbate the symptoms associated with the condition in those who are genetically predisposed to bipolar disorder.[1] Knowledge of the various causes of bipolar disorder allows one to form well-informed approaches to treat bipolar disorder.

1. Muller-Oerlinghausen B, Berghofer A, Bauer M. Bipolar disorder. The Lancet. (2002) 359(9318):241-247.
2. Daban C, Vieta E, MacKin P, Young AH. Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and bipolar disorder. Psychiatr Clin North Am. (2005) 28(2):469-480.
3. Bipolar disorder treatment. Retrieved March, 31, 2014, from

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

main article: Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
author: James Gignac
Investigating the symptoms of bipolar disorder is an important first step towards understanding the causes of the disorder, and ultimately being able to effectively diagnose and treat bipolar patients. The main behavioural symptoms of bipolar disorder include alternating periods of depression for both types of the disorder, and mania or hypomania for bipolar I and bipolar II respectively.[1] Bipolar I patients can also experience mixed affective episodes, involving both depressive and manic symptoms, which lead to an increased risk for suicidal ideation and completion of suicide.[1] In addition to behavioural symptoms, patients with bipolar disorder also experience various cognitive and perceptual deficits, and structural irregularities in particular brain regions.[1] According to the latest estimate by the World Health Organization, the symptoms of bipolar disorder result in it being the 12th most prevalent cause of disability in the world.[2]

1. Yatham, L. N., & Maj, M. (2010). Bipolar disorder clinical and neurobiological foundations. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
2. Mathers, C. (2008). The global burden of disease 2004 update. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization.

Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

main article: Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

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Remedy from Bipolar Disorder (BD), lifetime and recurrent disease, is almost impossible. Nevertheless, it’s possible to control the illness by taking proper medication & therapy. The primary objective is to use those medications to control mood swing and depression. The side effects of any medications are unavoidable. Despite all the side effects, patients have been trailed with different drugs because every individual is not responding same way to those medications. Multiple medications have been used to find out best course to treat patients. In order to successfully control this disorder patients have to educate about this illness, follow certain life style and take some psychotherapy. Only medications single handed are not beneficial to treat BD.

::1 :: Ozerdem A, Tunca Z, Cımrın D, Hıdıroglu C, Ergor G. Female vulnerability for thyroid function abnormality in bipolar disorder: role of lithium treatment. BIPOLAR DISORDER S AN INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PSYCHITRY AND NEUROSCIENCE 16, 72–82(2014)

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