And Genetic Disposition
This paper will attempt to give a basic understanding of bipolar disorder by briefly going into its diagnosis and treatments. It will give an overview of the two levels of bipolar disorder and how they are determined. It will then explain the role that genetics plays as well as environmental factors that play a role in the manifestation of bipolar disorder. Finally it will discuss some of the methods of treatments available ranging from medication to cognitive behavioral therapy.
Bipolar Disorder When people hear the term Bipolar they often picture a frazzle haired person who has a wild eyed stare. Part of this is due to the media portrayal of Bipolar and mental illness in general. Well I am going to explain to you some of the symptoms, treatments and if there are any genetic links to being diagnosed with Bipolar disorder. First what is Bipolar disorder? Well it is a condition that involves symptoms of both mania/hypomania and depression, usually alternating between the two. It is diagnosed based on the severity and chronicity of the hypomanic symptoms as well as the severity and pattern of any depressive symptoms. The term bipolar is used because the symptoms alternate between the manic and depressive, although the depressive episodes are predominant in many cases.(Sue,Sue,Sue,Sue 2010). There are also two classifications for bipolar, bipolar I and bipolar II.
Bipolar I is diagnosed when individuals experience at least one manic episode, even if there is no prior history of major depression. Bipolar II is diagnosed when there has been at least one major depressing episode that lasted at least two weeks, and one hyper manic episode that lasted at least four consecutive days, and of the two Bipolar II is the most under diagnosed because doctors usually treat the depression without adequately treating the hyper manic episodes. Now that you have a basic understanding of what bipolar disorder is lets take a look at what factors can influence being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is a complex disease with a high heritability (around 80%). Despite a large amount of studies investigated genetic underpinnings of bipolar disorder, to date they are still largely unknown. This is mostly
due to the fact that several genes contribute to the liability to develop the disorder, each with a small effect size, furthermore pertaining to several different molecular pathways . A further complication for the study of the genetics of bipolar disorder is related to the influence of environmental factors that may explain a significant proportion of the risk to develop bipolar disorder. Nonetheless, some consistent findings have been obtained for several genes and new promising genes are receiving growing interest. (Plunkett,2011). So needless to say genetics, as well as environmental factors, play a large role in the development of bipolar disorder. Finally we will discuss some of the available treatments for bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is a multi-facet illness with an inevitably complex treatment. The first-line psychosocial intervention in bipolar disorder is psychoeducation, followed by cognitive-behavioral therapy. Other treatment options include Electroconvulsive therapy and transcranial magnetic stimulation. There is a gap between evidence base, which comes mostly from monotherapy trials, and clinical practice, where complex treatment regimens are the rule.
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