What Causes Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, activity levels, and energy, hindering your ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Although doctors don’t completely understand the causes of bipolar disorder, they’ve gained a greater understanding in recent years. While some doctors believe there’s a genetic link to bipolar disorder, there’s also growing evidence that environment and lifestyle issues have an effect on the disorder’s severity.

A woman with bipolar disorder sits on an armchair.
While some doctors believe there’s a genetic link to bipolar disorder, there’s also growing evidence that environment and lifestyle issues have an effect on the disorder’s severity.

Genetic Causes

Because research shows that bipolar disorder can run in families, there appears to be some kind of genetic factors present. In fact, many people with bipolar disorder have a family member with a mood disorder. However, more research is needed to gain a better understanding of any possible genetic factors at play.

Neurochemical Causes

Bipolar disorder is believed to be partly caused by an underlying problem with specific brain circuits and the functioning of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. As a biological disorder, bipolar can lie dormant and be activated on its own, or it may be triggered by external factors such as psychological stress and social situations.

Environmental Factors

Life events may trigger a mood episode in a person with a genetic disposition for bipolar disorder. In addition, altered health habits, alcohol or drug abuse, or hormonal problems can also trigger an episode.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Can bipolar disorder be controlled? The first step to understanding how to control bipolar disorder is to understand which symptoms may be an indication that you have bipolar disorder. With this disorder, symptoms may include mania or hypomania, and depression. Mania is typically more severe than hypomania, and can cause noticeable disruption at work or school, in social situations or in your relationships. Mania can also trigger psychosis.

Manic and hypomanic episodes include at least three of these symptoms:

  • Abnormally upbeat or jumpy
  • Exaggerated sense of well-being and self-confidence
  • Increased energy or activity
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Unusual talkativeness
  • Racing thoughts
  • Distractibility
  • Poor decision-making

Major depressive episodes can also be a symptom of bipolar disorder. These episodes can be severe enough that they cause difficulty in day-to-day activities.

Can Bipolar Disorder Be Controlled?

In short, yes, bipolar disorder can be controlled. However, despite the mood extremes, you might not recognize how much your emotional instability disrupts your life. If you’ve experienced symptoms of depression or mania, you should seek professional help. Getting treatment can help you get your symptoms under control.

What to Do if You Think You Have Bipolar Disorder

Only a doctor can officially diagnose you with bipolar disorder, so if you think you may be experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder, seek professional help immediately. If you do have bipolar disorder, there are many effective treatment options available. To learn more, give us a call at 888.948.9998, or fill out our form.

Get the help you need today.