What is a Bipolar disorder? - Seeker's Thoughts

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What is a Bipolar disorder?

A team of researchers from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientist Research and National Institute of Mental and Neuroscience, in Bengaluru, identifies two specific genes which may be related to bipolar disorder, a neuropsychiatric disorder that has been studied widely.

Bipolar disorder is an illness that affects about 0.8% of the global population.
Bipolar disorder also known as manic depression, is a mental illness that brings severe high and low moods and changes in sleep, energy, thinking, and behaviour.

People who have bipolar disorder can have periods in which they feel overly happy and energized and other periods of feeling very sad, hopeless, and sluggish.

In between those periods, they usually feel normal. You can think of the highs and the lows as two “poles” of mood, which is why it’s called “bipolar” disorder.

The word “manic” describes the times when someone with bipolar disorder feels overly excited and confident. These feelings can also involve irritability and impulsive or reckless decision-making.

About half of people during mania can also have delusions (believing things that aren’t true and that they can’t be talked out of) or hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there).

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
In bipolar disorder, the dramatic episodes of high and low do not follow a set pattern. Someone may feel the same mood state (depressed or manic) several times before switching to the opposite mood. These episode can happen over a period of weeks, month, and sometimes even years.

How severe it gets differs from person to person and can also change over time, becoming more or less severe. However, these symptoms can indicate the 'bipolar disorder'.

-       Excessive happiness, hopefulness, and excitement.

-       Sudden changes from being joyful to being irritable, angry, and hostile.

-       Restlessness.

-       Rapid speech and poor concentration.

-       Increases energy and less need for sleep.

-       Unusually high sex drive.

-       Making grand and unrealistic plans.

-       Showing poor judgment.

-       Drug and alcohol abuse.

-       Becoming more impulsive.

During depressive periods (“the lows”), a person with bipolar disorder may have:

-       Sadness.

-       Loss of energy.

-       Feelings of hopelessness of worthlessness.

-       Not enjoying things they once liked.

-       Trouble concentrating.

-       Uncontrollable crying.

-       Trouble making decisions.

-       Irritability

-       Needing more sleep.

-       Insomnia

-       Appetite changes that make them loss or gain weight.

-       Thoughts of death or suicide

-       Attempting suicide.

How it is related to genes?
A recent study published in the journal Bipolar Disorders, according to the team of researchers, after a decade long work studying four generations of a family with several members in each generation affected.

In all, 28 members of one family were genotyped, and of these 11 were affected by bipolar disorder.

Researchers say there are strong indications that genetics plays a role in it. The specific genes whose mutations result in the individual being affected are difficult.

What do u understand by genes?
A gene is the basic physical and functional unit of heredity. Genes are made up of DNA some genets act as instructions to make molecules called proteins.

However, many genes do not code for proteins. In humans, genes vary in size from a few hundred DNA bases to more than 2 million bases. 

The Human Genome Project estimated that humans have between 20,000 and 25,000 genes.
 Every person has two copies of each gene, one inherited from parent. Most genes are the small in all people, but a small number of genes (less than 1% of the total) are slightly different between people.

Alleles are forms of the same gene with small differences in their sequence of DNA bases. These small differences contribute to each person’s unique physical features.

what researchers found in gene?

KANK1, is one of the KANK family of gene, has been implicated in cerebral palsy. Spastic quadriplegia-2 and steroid resistant nephritic syndrome, they found other genes in the KANK family have been linked to diseases, so it is likely that this variant in KANK4, too may be linked to disease.

Today there are nearly 150 families across the world with structures like this. These mutations in KANK4 and CAP2 are rare variants. These occur in less than 1% of the population, often fewer than one in a thousand.

These give us a toe-hold into biology, illuminating clinical molecular mechanisms involved.

Bipolar disorder treatment

Bipolar disorder is treated with three main classes of medication: mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and while their safety and effectiveness for the condition are sometimes controversial, antidepressants.

Typically, treatment entails a combination of at least one mood-stabilizing drug and/ or atypical antipsychotic, plus psychotherapy.

The most widely used drugs for the treatment of bipolar disorder – include lithium carbonate and valproic acid (also known as Depakote or generically as divalproex). Lithium carbonate can be remarkably effective in reducing mania, although doctors still do not know precisely how it works.

Lithium may also prevent recurrence of depression, but its value seems greater against mania than depression; therefore, it is often given conjunction with other medicines known to have greater value for depression symptoms, sometimes including antidepressants.

Valproic acid (Depakote) is a mood stabilizer that is helpful in treating the manic or mixed phases of bipolar disorder, along with carbamazepine (Equetro), another antiepileptic drug.

These drugs may be used alone or in combination with lithium to control symptoms. In addition, newer drugs are coming into the picture when traditional medications are insufficient. Lamotrigine (Lamictal), another antieleptic drug, has been shown to have value for preventing depression and, to a lesser degree, manias or hypomanias.


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