There is no one specific reason behind bipolar disorder which used to be called manic depression, new research finds.
It is not down to one chemical imbalance or one specific life event.
Rather, bipolar has many common features.
The results come from over 1,100 individuals who have been studied for over a decade.
In this study over 730 had manic depression, the rest did not.
Manic depression involves very severe mood swings; it is really a condition of extreme emotional states.
Someone experiencing the disorder could have periods of good energy and exhilaration in certain cases.
These could last weeks or often many months.
At other times they are going to experience very deep depressions.
Professor Melvin McInnis, the study’s first author, said:
“There are many routes to this disease, and many routes through it.
We hаve found that there are many biological mechanisms which drive the dіsease, and mаnу interactive external influences about it.
Most of these elements combine to affect the disease as patients experience it.”
A number of the key findings were that among individuals with manic depression:
Migraines were 3.5 times more likely.
Childhood trauma was more likely.
Higher intake of saturated fats.
Lower levels of key bacteria in the gut.
Poor sleep among women with the condition.
Strong neurotic tendencies in their personalities.
Cognitive abilities were lower.
Two genes were important: CACNA1 and ANK3.
The researchers found that while manic depression has a tendency to run in families, there wеre no specific genes at its heart.
Professor McInnis said:
“If there is a gene with a strong effect like that which we see in breast cancer, as an example, we might have found it.
We hope this new framework will give you a new approach to understand this disorder, and other complex diseases, by developing models that may guide a management strategy for clinicians and patients, and giνe researchers consistent variables to measure and assess.
Manic depression has a lot to teach humankind about other illnesses, bеcausе it covers the breadths of human mood, emotion and behavior like no other condition.
What we can learn in bipolar about every one of these factors will undoubtedly be directly applicable to monitoring other disorders, and personalizing the method of managing them.”
The study was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology (McInnis et al., 2017).