Bipolar Disorder and Genetic Predisposition

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Bipolar Disorder: A Case of Bad Genes?
December 13, 2011

Abstract
Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression, is a mood disorder in which a person experiences alternating episodes of both depression and mania. Bipolar disorder affects 1 in 100 people in the world. Throughout history, scientists and physicians have tried to find the exact cause of the disorder, but only in the last 30 years been able to confirm genetics as a culprit. Advances in research have enabled scientists to accurately pinpoint genetic variants that can alter each patient’s reaction to certain medication and treatment methods. Scientists are studying the genetic underpinnings of bipolar disorder in order one day, in the future, to be able to provide personalized medication and treatment plans for those individuals who suffer from the disorder. Jesica Mueller

Professor Reynolds

EH 1020

December 3, 2011

Bipolar Disorder: A Case of Bad Genes?
Formally known as manic depression, bipolar disorder will affect one in every 100 people in the world. Throughout history, there have been many theories on what causes the disorder. Over time, researchers have concluded there can be many possible factors in the development of this disorder, one of which includes genetics. In this paper, I will address the following topics: 1. What is bipolar disorder and how is it diagnosed?

2. Gender distribution and co-morbidity with other illnesses. 3. The causes of bipolar disorder: A thousand years of theories and research. 4. Increasing knowledge of the genetics of bipolar.

Understanding the genetics of bipolar disorder could help to predict familial predisposition and could provide information needed for the preparation of a personalized medication and treatment plan. What is Bipolar Disorder

And How is It Diagnosed?
Bipolar disorder is classified by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as mood disorder. (Association, A. P., 2000) It is characterized by alternating episodes of mania and depression. While depression presents with symptoms such as long periods of sadness, loss of interest in once enjoyable activities, tiredness, and thoughts of suicide. On the other hand, a person in a manic state can experience extended periods of overly happy moods, ideas of grandeur, racing thoughts, and most times impulsive, high risk behaviors. (NIMH, 2009) The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders states an individual must meet certain criteria before being diagnosed with one of the two types of bipolar disorder. For a bipolar I diagnosis, an individual must have experienced at least one full manic episode. A diagnosis of bipolar II disorder states an individual must have experienced one or more major depressive episode, as well as at least one hypomanic episode. (Association, A. P., 2000) Gender Distribution And

Co-Morbidity With Other Illnesses
In their book Bipolar Affective Disorders Etiology and Treatment, Dr. Jörg Walden and Dr. Heinz Gruze provide statistics of gender and age distribution as well as co-morbidity with other illnesses. Although gender distribution of the disorder is equal among men and women, Walden and Gruze claim that women’s symptoms will manifest earlier than men’s will. One reason for the manifestation difference could be due to hormones. Women have certain hormonal reactions that could cause the disorder to manifest before men. Studies have shown women present with depressive episodes in their teen years and their first manic episode after the age of 25. Men are more likely to present with their first full manic episode between the ages of 16-25. (Kennedy et al., 2005) Scientists found “co-morbidity with other diseases in 86% of adolescents with a manic syndrome” including ADHD, drug or alcohol abuse, anxiety disorder and Tourette syndrome (p. 10). Substance abuse disorder and anxiety disorder have the highest co-morbidity rates with bipolar...
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