Bipolar Affective Disorder News

Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder, or mental illness, that causes changes in mood, as well as activities, and leads to extreme energy levels. It is also called bipolar affective disorder and manic-depressive disorder.

When people have bipolar disorder, their changes in mood are magnified and often difficult to predict. They may go from being extremely happy and energetic one moment to sad, fatigued and confused the next. Manic episodes, in which a person has a long period of very irritated or very excited behavior, are always present in bipolar disorder. Sometimes, the mood swings are so strong that they can lead to depression or even suicide.

Causes of Bipolar Disorder

Though researchers aren’t exactly sure what causes bipolar disorder, there does appear to be a genetic component to the illness. If a family member has it, then you are more likely to develop it yourself. Other research has shown that there are subtle differences in the brains of those who have bipolar disorder when compared with those of healthy individuals or people with other types of mental problems.


Bipolar disorder cannot be cured, but with care and treatment, people can manage their condition well enough to lead a healthy and productive life. However, bipolar disorder is a lifelong issue, so care must be continuous for it to be effective.

One part of treatment for bipolar disorder is usually a regimen of medication to treat the symptoms. The drugs that are often prescribed for bipolar disorder include antidepressants, atypical antipsychotics and mood stabilizers. It may take some time to find the right medications for a person with bipolar disorder, so patients are encouraged to track what medication they are on and how it affects their life.

The other critical component of treatment for bipolar disorder is psychotherapy. These sessions may focus solely on the needs of the individual, or they may include family-focused therapy or group therapy to help work through the issues related to bipolar disorder.

SOURCES: U.S. National Institute of Mental Health; American Psychological Association.

Date Posted
Article Title
Daily 'Light Therapy' May Help Some With Bipolar Disorder

Study found an hour in front of a light box helped ease depressive symptoms

Americans More Open About Mental Health Issues, But Stigma Lingers

Poll found many thought 'personal failings' were part of the cause of some conditions

Heart Risks to Fetus From Bipolar Drug May Be Lower Than Thought

Pregnant women taking lithium should discuss any concerns with doctor, researchers say

Chronic Pain Common in Adults With Depression, Anxiety

Study finds the double whammy is a significant and growing health problem

What You Need to Know About Antidepressants

They work by affecting brain chemicals that regulate mood, FDA explains

Just 1 in 5 Mentally Ill Women Gets Cervical Cancer Screenings

Rates of the disease tend to be higher in this group, researcher says

Brain Scans May Shed Light on Bipolar Disorder-Suicide Risk

Almost half of those with the disorder attempt suicide and up to 20 percent succeed

Many With Mental Illness Miss Out on HIV Tests

Rates of infection up to 15 times higher, yet testing rates similar to those without psychiatric woes, study finds

Demi Lovato Wants to Change the Face of Mental Illness

Pop star's own battle with bipolar disorder helped to inspire new photo campaign that seeks to alter stereotypes

Troubled Childhood May Boost Bipolar Risk: Study

Research review suggests strong link with emotional abuse

U.S. Psychiatric Patients Face Long Waits in ERs

1 in 5 emergency doctors reports waiting at least 2 days for a bed for someone who's mentally ill

Are Some Blood Pressure Meds Linked to Depression, Bipolar Risk?

Researchers add the effect was small, and study did not prove cause and effect

Study Links Pot Use to Relapse in Psychosis Patients

But experts note effect is small, and the research isn't definitive

Siblings of Schizophrenia Patients at Greater Risk for Same Diagnosis: Study

Brothers, sisters of those with bipolar disorder also face higher odds of similar diagnosis, Israeli research suggests

Kids With Bipolar Disorder More Likely to Abuse Drugs, Alcohol: Study

And those who also have conduct disorder seem to face an even greater risk

Bipolar Diagnosis May Take Up to 6 Years

Researcher calls delay a 'lost opportunity' for treatment

Mentally Ill Still Gain Illegal Possession of Guns, Study Shows

Review of Florida patients finds 2 of 3 violent crime arrests, 1 in 3 suicides shouldn't have included firearms

Lithium Beats Newer Meds for Bipolar Disorder, Study Finds

Lower rates of self-harm, accidental injury seen

Depressive Episode May Not Always Follow Mania in Bipolar Disorder

New study finds anxiety could be a third emotional state highly connected to the condition

Even Controlled, Epilepsy May Still Cause Problems for Kids

Study finds social and educational issues may be a concern as children get older

MS Patients May Be Prone to Other Chronic Illnesses, Study Finds

High blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and depression among common co-existing conditions

Study Links Child Abuse, Neglect to Earlier Onset of Bipolar Disorder

Researchers also found greater risk of suicide and more severe manic and depressive symptoms

Brain Wiring Changes Might Help Guard Against Bipolar Disorder

Researchers find naturally occurring 'rewiring' can forestall the mental illness

Certain Antidepressants May Be Linked to Bipolar Disorder: Study

Patients, doctors should discuss possible risk factors, experts say

Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Play Role in Bipolar Disorder: Study

Researchers hope to learn whether they can benefit patients with the mental illness

Research Gives Clues to Why Some Benefit More From Drug for Bipolar Disorder

Key brain cell differences could play a role in lithium's effectiveness, researchers say

Standby Drug for Adult Bipolar Disorder May Be Safe, Effective in Children

Study finds lithium can benefit pediatric patients, at least for the short term

Vraylar Approved for Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder

Label warns against use by certain elderly

FDA Approves New Drug for Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder

Vraylar is an atypical antipsychotic taken once a day

Brain Scans May Take Guesswork Out of Schizophrenia Treatment

Goal is to help physicians make better drug choices for psychotic patients

Screen Teens With Depression for Heart Disease, Experts Say

New recommendations note these adolescents not recognized as high-risk group

Brains of Teens With Bipolar Disorder Develop Differently: Study

MRI scans suggest changes in areas that regulate emotions, researchers note

Demi Lovato Gets Vocal About Mental Illness

Diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2011, pop singer is spearheading new awareness campaign

First Generic Abilify Approved

For treatment of bipolar disorder or schizophrenia