Term Paper: Bipolar Depression, the Causes, Symptoms

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[. . .] The next probable cause could be Chemical disturbances. Lately, psychiatrics have come to the conclusion that it is not the parents who are responsible for the disorder, but the brain of the individual. People who suffer from this disorder usually are said to have a disturbance of chemicals in the brain. (Akiskal; Bourgeois, p.22) There is a possibility that it is a faulty gene that is the main reason behind the imbalance of chemicals.

The concept that mental illness was caused by a disparity of chemicals in the brain erupted in the 1950s when nearly the used psychiatric drugs were exposed by probability to assuage the symptoms of definite mental illnesses. Recent studies have said to prove that this manic depression is the result of the lack of the neurotransmitter serotonin. This serotonin is supposed to be responsible for the moods. (Falloon; Hole, p.72) Lack of serotonin is said to lead to depression and a sudden increase or decrease may lead to bipolar disorders or manic depression. The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or the SSRI's are said to help in controlling the brain's serotonin levels and also are said to relive the individual under depression. But this also has ultimately resulted in various complex data and some of which are not really convincing. The brain is said to consist of various different neurotransmitters and neuromodulators and these are considered highly interconnected. In such a situation the antidepressant Wellbutrin or bupropion is said to have like no component that has a reaction on the serotonin and several studies have been conducted that stand to prove that this is no less effective than the other antidepressants. (Goldberg, p.38)

To take pictures of the living brain while it is working, and in order to study its structure and its activities, researchers employ new brain-imaging techniques. The brains of people with bipolar disorder may vary from the brains of healthy individuals is obvious from imaging studies. In those with bipolar disorder, two major areas of the brain contain 30% more cells that send signals to other brain cells, which are described in a study published in American Journal of Psychiatry. Considering the symptoms of bipolar disorder, this report's assumption that the extra signal-sending cells may lead to a kind of overstimulation seems meaningful. The brains of people with bipolar disorder may be different from the brains of healthy individuals is clear from imaging studies. Scientists will get a better understanding of the fundamental causes of the illness, as the differences are more clearly recognized and defined through research and may ultimately lead to prediction of the types treatment that are more effective. (Coryell; Keller, Endicott; Maser; Klerman, 727)

The negative thoughts that are connected with the depressive episodes of bipolar disorder are due to abnormalities in the cerebral cortex since it is concerned with the thought process. A neuroanatomical foundation to bipolar disorder has been established by Structural imaging studies. In particular, a decrease in the volume of grey matter in parts has the medial and orbital prefrontal cortices, ventral striatum and mesoisotemporal cortexan enlargement of the third and lateral ventricles. In depression, the metabolic rate and blood flow to these areas are also disturbed. A decrease in the number of neurons and glial cells and in layers II and III in the forebrain of depressed patients is partly owing to shortened brain volume. In bipolar disorder, these two layers have been confirmed to be important. (Weissman; Bruce; Leaf; Florio; Holzer, 35)

The familiarities a person has in life should not affect whether he or she develops the disorder or becomes ill again subsequently if genes or biology were the only factors that influences bipolar disorder. Compared to those who do not become ill, the level of these problems will usually be higher for those who become ill. Additional periods of ill health will again often be preceded by difficulties in the period leading up to ill health returning, once a person has received the initial diagnosis of bipolar disorder. This apparent relationship between the experiences of people and their subsequent problems were suggested as confusing, in the past. The truth that people were beginning to become unwell and their behavior was becoming responsible for creating difficulties in day-to-day life is just reflected in the associated arguments. (Akiskal; Bourgeois, 26)

The events that could be described as dependent and those as independent were distinguished by Researchers, working first in the area of depression and later looking at bipolar disorder. Dependent variables meant which the person caused and independent variables were which are not under the control of the person. To demonstrate this distinction, an instance can be given. A person losing his or job is a dependent event if it were the result of the person's increasingly erratic behavior on the part of the person concerned in the weeks leading up to an incident of illness. However, if the person who has put a satisfactory job performance has lost his job because of firm the person worked for was in the process of reducing its workforce for economic reasons, and then it would be an independent event. Independent life events seem to be more in periods of good health for an individual, or for comparison groups who do not become ill when this distinction is made by researchers between dependent and independent life events. A person's own behavior being affected by the initial stages of the illness cannot be the only reason, as the experiences people have do constitute to have a promising impact on their mental health. (Copeland, 34)

Therefore, it can be said that our mental state depends upon our physical, chemical, and electrical properties of the brain. Many psychologists like B.F. Skinner have stated that scientists could and should control the human behavior and also try and predict how the individual's mood or how his reaction would be in future or else this should be at least tried and maintained with the help of drugs. By accepting the fact that human moods, motivation and emotion are caused by neurochemical state of the brain and these drugs enable to make the condition of the brain as neutral. When we are going to stop using these and actually bring into consideration as to which kind of neurochemical states that we want for the people, it will bring a stop to this drug abuse. When it comes to considering the actual severity of the condition we realize that if we take proper treatment for the illness at an earlier stage we may be able to curtail it at an earlier stage itself, otherwise we may have situations where the disorder becomes severe that we may have to even hospitalize the individual. The chance of this individual to be more prone to this disorder is more. (Coryell; Keller, Endicott; Maser; Klerman, 725)

Treatment of Bipolar Disorder:

Bipolar disorder is a treatable and controllable illness even though there is no cure for it. Most people can be cured after a proper examination. People with bipolar disorder can be cured efficiently but under proper medication. Though cases of mania or depression may occur and need a special treatment a maintenance treatment with a mood stabilizer can reduce the severity for many people. There are certain psychosocial treatments like cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, family therapy and psychoeducation, which help people to know the disease, and to develop skills to manage the strain that can cause severity. During different stages of the illness changes in the medicines or the doses and treatment methods are necessary. Lithium (Eskalith of Lithobid) and divalproex sodium (Depakote) are the main mood stabilizers, which are used during mediation. For people with severe bipolar disorder Lithium has been used for a long time as a first line treatment. Lithium proves effective for preventing further disorders and for treating after it had begun. (Coppen, 5) Lithium is acceptable for only some patients while for some other people it show a variety of side effects that make the treatment unwelcome. Since 1983, Depakote was used as an anticonvulsant, but it has been used for many cases of bipolar disorder from 1995. (Goldberg, 38)

For treating mania with few side effects, Depakote seems to be as effective as lithium although it may not be suitable for people with a history of liver problems. To treat mania, other anticonvulsant medications like carbamazepine (Tegretol) and topiramate Topamax), including lamotrigine (Lamictal) which are used. Antipsychotic medications may also be used intensely for treatment of mania. Olanzapine (Zyprexa), which is FDA approved for the treatment of acute mania is a class of Antipsychotic medications. Additional treatment with an antidepressant medication is required for people with bipolar disorder during depressive incidents. (Swartz; Frank, 16)

Doctors often prescribe an antidepressant only after the individual is already receiving a therapeutic dose of lithium or an anticonvulsant mood stabilizer, because of the risk of triggering mania. Mood stabilizers can protect against antidepressant-induced… [END OF PREVIEW]

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