Theories of bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental disease that was previously known as manic-depressive disorder. It is the disease of “madness “as the laypeople say. What are the theories of bipolar disorder which demonstrate its pathology?

Manifestations of bipolar disorder

The patient of bipolar disorder experience 2 phases: happiness and sadness, hence the name.

The happiness phase is called “mania”. It has the following manifestations:

  • Euphoria and intense sensation of happiness.
  • Talkativeness.
  • Increased sexual desire up to sexual crimes.
  • Difficulty in sleeping, even the patient may not be able to sleep for a few days.
  • Sense of humor and excessive lough.
  • Increased productivity in work.
  • Optimistic look to the world.
  • Impulsive behavior.
  • Hallucinations as well as delusions.

The sadness phase is called “depression”. Its manifestations are:

  • Loss of appetite and weight.
  • Abnormal sleep pattern, either insomnia or excessive sleeping hours.
  • Decreased productivity at work.
  • Withdrawal from the community.
  • Suicidal thoughts.
  • Loss of hope and interests.
  • Crying spells.
  • Severe weakness and fatigue.

It may be difficult to diagnose bipolar disorder so that physicians may misdiagnose it as just depression because the patient looks just a happy man in the mania phase.

Causes of bipolar disorder

There is no definite cause but some theories of bipolar disorder and risk factors, such as:

  • Genetic factor, thus, it runs in families and among twins.
  • Abnormalities in the brain chemical messengers i.e.: neurotransmitters.
  • Environmental factors in the form of external stress, for instance, child abuse and pregnancy.

Theories of bipolar disorder

There are theories of bipolar disorder trying to explain the mechanisms causing the disease.

Cognitive theory of bipolar disorder

It means the presence of social cognition in patients with the impact of mental illness on the severity of symptoms. In addition, it affects the duration of the disease, incidence of relapse as well as the daily activities.

Psychodynamic theory of bipolar disorder

It indicates that depression the mania is as a defense against the feelings of depression with its negative feelings such as the loss of self-esteem and the sense of worthlessness.

Neuropsychological theory

It refers to the presence of anatomical (structural) and physiological (functional) factors in the occurrence of bipolar disorder.

There may be an increased activation in ventral limbic brain regions which is responsible for the experience of emotions and generation of emotional responses.

Biochemical theory

This theory indicates the role of disturbance of some chemical transmitters in bipolar disorder.

Studies and observations had revealed a link between adrenaline and noradrenaline and the disease. Their high levels cause mania while their low levels can cause depression.

Furthermore, serotonin and dopamine have a role in mania phase.

Increased glutamate is causing depression.

Social cognition

It includes the perception, and interpretation as well as the generation of responses to the intention and behavior of others.

Treatment of bipolar disorder

  • The depression phase needs antidepressants.
  • In general, antipsychotic medications treat hallucinations and delusions.
  • Mood stabilizer, for example, lithium
  • Anticonvulsant medications play a role in stabilizing the mood.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help to treat bipolar disorder.

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