The Causes and Effects of Bipolar Disorder

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Oct 20, 2013 (4 years and 2 months ago)

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Ante Mesin

CS 271

Dr. Lenox

Final Project

Literature Review

The Causes and Effects of Bipolar Disorder


Bipolar disorder has affected countless individuals throughout the world. Many have
different views on the disorder, and healthy individuals may be extremely critical towards
people with the disorder. However, it’s important to understand that it is a diso
rder that affects
millions, and that it is a very difficult
disorder to handle. Bipolar disorder is neuropsychological
phenomenon that leaves an individual’s mood flustering between manias or an extreme “up”
mood and depression, often times fluctuating ver
y quickly (
Berger and Zieve
). These

mood
swings can be so intense, that suicidal thoughts are actually seen. Data shows that suicide rates
are sixty
-
percent higher in bipolar patients than in healthy people

(
MedicineNet
).



With a condition this serious, t
here have been different approaches as to how to cure
the disorder. Unfortunately, it seems as though there are no real cures; only treatments that
help manage the disorder. Since the disorder’s symptoms have been dated as far back as 100
A.D., there have
been many different approaches in terms of t
heories and treatment

(MedicineNet)
. Early on, many believed it was due to bad blood, while others believed it to be
different forms of insanity
(MedicinNet
). Fortunately for present
-
day bipolar patients, science

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finally came to a legitimate result, and no one needs to go through any sessions with the
“lobotomobile”.


The disorder, previously known as manic
-
depression (
Berger and Zieve, Guillory,
Lingohr
-
Smith
, MedicinNet
), is now understood to be a neurological

chemical imbalance
.
Studies show that bipolar patients suffer from deficiencies in several chemicals naturally
produced in the brain, such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine (
Lingohr
-
Smith
). Along
with deficiencies, they also seem to exhibit larger

concentrations of different chemicals, such as
glutamate (
Lingohr
-
Smith
). Because of these abnormalities, most physicians will prescribe drugs
to regulate these chemicals. If a patient is deficient in serotonin, they’ll be prescribed drugs tha
t
will incre
ase the concentrati
on of serotonin in their brain.

The same goes for the other chemical
imbalances; however, different drugs are used.


Although drugs seem to be a quick fix at first glance, it is entirely not. People with
bipolar disorder need to go
through additional treatments, such as psychotherapy, to be able to
best maintain the disorder (
Kaye
). Different aspects of psychotherapy, including counseling,
interpersonal therapy, and even
psycho
-
education, have been shown to increase the success
rate
in individuals with bipolar disorder (
Adler, DelBello and Strakowski, Kaye, Milkowitz
).
Outside of psychotherapy, electro
-
shock therapy seemed to have improved some patients’
mood swings. ECT therapy is used today, and a
lthough it may seem barbaric to some
, it actually
gives positive feedback. Patients would go multiple times a week to have these done, but
afterwards, would continue going at a routine once
-
or
-
twice a month (
Guillory
).
The chemical
imbalances and mood
-
swings were shown to be less severe once

treated.

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The
imbalances

seen

seem to be created from neural network misfiring, which is how
most understand the disorder now. It has been recognized in the brains actual structure;
specifically, the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex (
Davenport,

Drevets,

Leibenluft
)
.


The amygdala deals
with our emotions; it tells us how to react emotionally during
specific
situations (
Leibenluft
). When dealing with bipolar disorder, it seems as though there are
neural network misfiring happening in the amygdala,
typically causing it to be hyperactive.

The
hyperactivity can be caused by the growth of the amygdala seen in patients with bipolar
disorder, or vice versa (
Leibenluft
).

As stated by
D
octor Ellen Leibenluft, since the amygdala is
hyperactive in people with

bipolar disorder, the world perceived by them may be more
emotionally involved and unstable, which ex
plains the constant mood swings.


The prefrontal cortex has certain parts included to it, including the ventral lateral
prefrontal cortex and the dorsal l
ateral prefrontal cortex
.

The ventral lateral is tightly
connected to the amygdala, and some say that this may cause the ventral lateral to overreact

(Drevets)
. The dorsal lateral segment deals heavily with rational thinking. Studies show that this
area of

the brain is underactive

(Drevets)
. The combination of highs and lows of specific activity
trigger heavy emotional responses to ordinary things, leading to bipolar disorder
.


Viewing bipolar disorder as a neural network problem bares no flaws that I can s
ee.
Before empirical evidence was discovered, the thought of “bad blood” or insanity showed to be
of no real use. Discovering the
brains

neural
network misfiring and becoming chemically
imbalanced has given us true understanding of what is happening in a b
ipolar patient, which
has then given us different routes for successful treatment.

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Works Cited

Adler, Caleb M., Melissa P. DelBello, and Stephen M. Strackowski. "Brain Network
D
ysfunction in Bipolar

Disorder." (2006): n. page. Web. 7 May. 2012.

<http://
mbldownloads.com/0406CNS_Adler_CME.pdf>.

Berger, Fred K., and David Zieve. "Bipolar disorder."
PubMed Health
. U.S. National Library of Medicine,

29 MAR 2011. Web. 5 May 2012.


"Bipolar Disorder (Mania)."

Medicine Net
. Medicine Net, n.d. Web. 6 May 2012.

<
http://www.medicinenet.com/bipolar_disorder/article.htm

Davenport, Liam. "Amygdala activation linked to bipolar disorder risk ."

Medwire
-
News.md
. Biol

Psychiatry, 15 JUL 2011. Web. 5 May 2012.

DNA Learning Center and Ellen Leibenluft.

Neuropathology of
Bipolar Disorder (8 of 15)
. 2010. Video.

youtube.comWeb. 5 May 2012.

<http://www.youtube.com/watch?

DNA Learning Center and Wayne Drevets.

Neuropathology of Bipolar Disorder (7 of 11)
. 2010. Video.

youtube.comWeb. 5 May 2012.

<http://www.youtube.com/wa
tch?v=hMT7PV01N0g&feature=relmfu>.

Guillory, Shelly. "ECT Treatments for Bipolar Disorder."
Livestrong
. Livestrong, 14 APR 2010. Web. 7 May

2012. <http://www.livestrong.com/article/106669
-
ect
-
treatments
-
bipolar
-
disorder/>.

Kaye, Neil S. "A Primary Care App
roach to Bipolar Disorder." 6A. (2006): n. page. Web. 7 May. 2012.

<http://www.courtpsychiatrist.com/pdf/jhhbipolar.pdf>.


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Lingohr
-
Smith, Melissa. "WHAT CHEMICALS ARE INVOLVED WITH BIPOLAR

DISORDER?."
Livestrong.com
. Livestrong, 07 SEP 2010. Web.

7 May 2012.

<http://www.livestrong.com/article/234421
-
what
-
chemicals
-
are
-
involved
-
with
-
bipolar
-

disorder/>.

Milkowitz, David J.. "Psychosocial Treatments for Bipolar Depression."

Archives of General Psychiatry
.

American Medical Association, 04 2007.
Web. 5 May 2012. <http://archpsyc.ama
-

assn.org/cgi/content/full/64/4/419>.