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Bipolar Disorder and Its Manifestation in the Brain

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that results in alternating periods of

elation and depression. Frequent transitions between these two extreme moods

lead to manic depression or bipolar disorder. It is common in young adults. People

who suffer with bipolar disorders go through the following phases, also known as

mood episodes:



1. Manic phase

During this phase, a person always feels highly energetic and happy. It can also make

them easily frustrated and irritable. This phase usually lasts for a week.


2. Hypomanic phase

This phase is relatively less severe than the manic phase. A person might become

extremely talkative, easily distracted and possess higher self-esteem. It is an easily

noticeable symptom of bipolar disorder and lasts for a few days only.


3. Depressive phase

The person falls into depression in this phase. Depression symptoms are likely to

appear that affect the person's daily activities. That is usually the longest phase and

may last up to two weeks.


Causes:

The actual cause of this disease is still unknown, but the following factors might

relate to the cause of this disease

-Family History

A person is prone to bipolar disorder if this disease runs in his family.

-Stress

Excessive stress and anxiety can lead to bipolar disorder.

-Intake of drugs

Abuse of drugs is also one of the leading causes of bipolar disorder.

-Other mental disorders


The chance of acquiring bipolar disorder increases if the person has been diagnosed

with other mental health problems.


Types of Bipolar Disorders:


Bipolar disorders can be divided into the following types based on the duration of

each mood episode:


1. Bipolar I disorder

It is caused when a person suffers at least once with a manic phase followed by a

depressive or hypomanic phase. The person suffering from this disorder starts to live

away from reality.


2. Bipolar II disorder

Bipolar II disorder is diagnosed when the person has suffered through a depressive

and hypomanic phase but never a manic phase.


3. Cyclothymic disorder

The person is diagnosed with cyclothymic disorder after suffering from depressive

and hypomanic phases for more than two years.


4. Other bipolar disorders

Other bipolar disorders might be caused by a reaction to medications or other

mental health disorders. Drug abuse might also lead to other bipolar disorders.


Cure:

Some common treatments for bipolar disorders include psychotherapy and

medications. If you note any of the symptoms mentioned, seek a psychologist for

diagnosis to prevent further damage to the brain. Mental health problems require

necessary treatments as avoiding treatment might be life threatening in some cases

too.


Effects of Bipolar Disorder on the Brain:

Mental health conditions might cause specific structural and functional alterations in

the brain. Bipolar disorders affect the smaller and most sensitive regions in the brain.

It also leads to changes in brain chemicals that cause hallucinations. Some parts of

the brain also reduce in size. The parts of the brain that are affected the most are:


The Prefrontal Cortex: The function of the prefrontal cortex includes sending and

receiving information.

Grey Matter: It is responsible for sensory and muscular functions. Studies have

shown people suffering from this disease have reduced grey matter.

The Hippocampus: This part of the brain is responsible for emotions.


References:

Bipolar disorder - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic

The 5 Types of Bipolar Disorder (verywellmind.com)

Hypomania: Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment (verywellmind.com)

Effects of bipolar disorder on the brain (medicalnewstoday.com)

Gray and White Matter | Structure, Functions, Location, Facts & Difference (human-memory.net)

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