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What Is the Main Cause of Bipolar Disorder?

a young woman struggles to cope with the symptoms of bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is one of the most common mood disorders, affecting millions of Americans each year. For many of those impacted by this condition, it can take time and proper treatment to stabilize. Often, a bipolar disorder treatment program can help people living with this condition find the right treatments and medications that will help them manage their symptoms and live healthy lives. When someone you care about might be living with bipolar disorder, learning more about the condition can be reassuring and provide guidance as you help them look for treatment. For more information, contact Northpoint Seattle at 888.483.6031.

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder, meaning that people with bipolar disorder have difficulty regulating their moods over time. In the past, bipolar disorder was sometimes called ‘manic depression’ because people with the condition can experience mania as well as depressive episodes. There are different types of bipolar disorder:

  • Type I – People with bipolar type I experience depressive episodes that may look similar to clinical depression but also experience mania at times. Mania is a period of hyperactivity that can also include psychotic features like grandiose ideas or hallucinations.
  • Type II – People with bipolar type II also experience depressive episodes but usually do not experience mania to the same degree as people with type I. In bipolar type II, hypomanias are more common, which are periods of lesser mania. From the outside, people experiencing a hypomanic episode may seem extra-productive or motivated.
  • Cyclothymia – With this type of bipolar disorder, people experience depressions and manias that are less severe than types I and II.

Knowing the signs of bipolar disorder is key to recognizing when someone needs help and support

Knowing the Signs of Bipolar Disorder

It can sometimes be difficult to spot the signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder, especially because of the cyclic nature of the condition. Understanding the signs of the different episodes is one of the ways to recognize bipolar disorder in yourself or a loved one.

  • Depression – People in a depressive episode may seem sad, indifferent, or negative. They may experience disturbances in their eating and sleeping. In a depressive episode, their mood is not related to a significant event, such as the death of a loved one, or it may be out of proportion to what is happening around them.
  • Mania – During a manic episode, the person may seem hyper, aggressive, or ecstatic. People in a mania sometimes seek out risky behaviors such as sex, drugs, or dangerous activities. They may even have odd ideas or behaviors that don’t seem to make sense to others.
  • Mixed episode – A mixed episode is when a person is experiencing features of depression and mania at the same time.

What Is the Main Cause of Bipolar Disorder? 

The causes of bipolar disorder are still being studied, but most researchers agree that bipolar disorder is likely caused by elements in two categories:

  • Differences in the brain – People with bipolar disorder may have structural and functional differences in the way their brains work. This can refer to their ability to produce and utilize neurotransmitters, as well as actual differences in their brain structures.
  • Genetics – Bipolar disorder does seem to run in families, and a person who is diagnosed with bipolar disorder may often find that they have others in their family who have experienced it or other mental health concerns.

While everyone’s experience with bipolar disorder is different, professional help and support can make a world of difference to those living with it.

The Benefits of Getting Professional Help for Bipolar Disorder

Professional help for bipolar disorder is essential in managing the condition and improving the quality of life. Some of the most significant benefits that can be gained from professional help include:

  1. Reduced risk of relapse of symptoms
  2. Improved mood stability
  3. Developing positive, healthy coping strategies
  4. Improved quality of life
  5. Having a better understanding of yourself and your mental health

In summary, seeking professional help for bipolar disorder can provide numerous benefits. From reducing the risk of relapses to improving mood stability and quality of life, treatment is essential in supporting those living with bipolar disorder.

Northpoint Seattle: A Bipolar Disorder Treatment Program That Works

At our treatment center in Seattle, Washington, we offer our patients an individualized, flexible program that treats each patient like a person, not a diagnosis. Whether you or your loved one is seeking help for the first time or looking for a place to transition after residential treatment, we can help. Reach out to us today at 888.483.6031 or via our online contact form.