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Doctor insights on: What Happens In The Brain To Cause Bipolar Disorder

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What happens in the brain to cause bipolar disorder?

What happens in the brain to cause bipolar disorder?

We Don't Know: We really do not know what causes bipolar disorder and we do not know what happens to the brain in folks with bipolar disorder. It would be great if we did, but we don't. There is ongoing research trying to unlock the secrets to many brain diseases. I think, in the next decade or so, there will be many great discoveries in this area. Stay tuned. ...Read more

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Dr. Alan Ali
1,717 doctors shared insights

Bipolar Disorder (Definition)

Also known as manic-depressive illness, bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that in its most severe form causes dramatic shifts in mood, from mania to depression. Symptoms of mania include markedly elevated mood and energy, reduced sleep and a reduced need for sleep, racing thoughts, and grandiose ideas. When mood changes are severe, psychotic ideation may be present. Symptoms of depression can include low energy, feeling sad, feelings of guilt and hopelessness that are out of proportion to the patient's actual situation, low motivation, inability to experience pleasure, and suicidal ideation. Sleep may be increased, and concentration may be impaired. Some manic patients may be extremely irritable rather than euphoric. Less severe but clearly abnormal mood ...Read more


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What is happening in the brain that causes bipolar disorder?

What is happening in the brain that causes bipolar disorder?

Lots of research: Nothing is certain yet, but researchers are finding abnormalities in the structure and/or function of certain brain circuits that could underlie bipolar. There is also work in brain chemical interactions with stress hormones. Brain injuries and some diseases along with genetic tendencies may all play parts. In the end, there is interference in mood intensity regulation and stabilization. It's hard. ...Read more

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I had a cva in the front part of my brain. It causes mood swings. Could it of caused bipolar disorder in me. I currently suffer depression. ?

I had a cva in the front part of my brain.  It causes mood swings.  Could it of caused bipolar disorder in me.  I currently suffer depression. ?

Complex issue: Why a cva at your age? This sounds rather complex and difficult. Frontal lobe disorders are very complex and will affect mood and behavior and attention. You need a thorough medical evaluation and referral for specialist evaluation as deemed appropriate by your primary physician. There may be a complicated neurological cause for your condition. ...Read more

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Can anxiety, depression and OCD cause a racing mind simular to bipolar disorder?

Can anxiety, depression and OCD cause a racing mind simular to bipolar disorder?

Sometimes.: Anxious ruminations & agitated depression can certainly present with racing thoughts. I can't think of any reason why ocd might not somtimes present similarly. ...Read more

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Is there any proof bipolar disorder is a chemical imbalance in brain?

Is there any proof bipolar disorder is a chemical imbalance in brain?

Not clearly: Noone knows exactly what causes bipolar disorder, but we do have evidence showing that extreme mood episodes like that in bipolar disorder must be from chemical imbalance as often medications that readjust these chemical balances between neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine etc work effectively for the disorder. ...Read more

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I have type 2 bipolar disorder and its been unbearable. I'm either depressed or i'm so hyper i'm fighting my brain to calm down. I have no insurance for medicines. What shouldi do?

I have type 2 bipolar disorder and its been unbearable. I'm either depressed or i'm so hyper i'm fighting my brain to calm down. I have no insurance for medicines. What shouldi do?

There are options: This is a great question. There are older, effective medications for bipolar disorder that are much less expensive than the newer ones. Lithium is one example. Alternatively, many pharmaceutical companies have programs to help with the cost of medications that are based on income. Finally, some doctors or clinics have free samples of medications please ask your doctor about these alternatives. ...Read more

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Can someone develop bipolar disorder from traumatic brain injury?

Can someone develop bipolar disorder from traumatic brain injury?

Yes.: It's not especially common, but some people do develop bipolar disorder after brain injury. The mechanism is not well understood. Treatment approaches are essentially identical in terms of medications, but response rates may be less robust. ...Read more

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Can someone maintain a steady brain wave. Been on lithium for 15yrs. Would i ever be able to go without it. I have bipolar disorder. Also take paxil (paroxetine)?

Can someone maintain a steady brain wave.  Been on lithium for 15yrs. Would i ever be able to go without it. I have bipolar disorder. Also take paxil (paroxetine)?

Brain waves: In bipolar disorder it's not brain waves that are the problem -- it's a problem with unstable mood. Lithium ; some others can keep mood stable. Antidepressants can destabilize bipolar disorder; most psychiatrists avoid using antidepressants in this condition unless absolutely necessary. Currently, conventional psychiatry has little else to offer bipolar disorder but lithium and anticonvulsants. ...Read more

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Do people with bipolar disorder know when they are about to go into a depressed state of mind?

It Varies: Some people can tell when there mood is about to change, especially when they develop more self-awareness into their difficulties. However, a great many people with bipolar disorder are affected by their mood in unpredictable ways that they are not able to anticipate. That's why treatment is so important, because successful treatment will help to minimize mood swings. ...Read more

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Dr. Donald Jacobson
737 doctors shared insights

Manic Depressive Disorder (Definition)

Though depression is not required for diagnosis most people have both manic and depressive episodes and may have mixed episodes with features of both. Length of episodes vary, but are separated by "normal" periods of emotion and behavior. See my answers to similar ...Read more


Cerebrum (Definition)

Cerebrum essentially refers to the majority of the brain. Embryologically, it develops from the telencephalon, and together with the diencephalon, ...Read more