Bipolar disorder cannot be measured by chemical imbalances in the brain because it is the of result of people who see the grim reality of life, according to a controversial new study.
The 10-year study published by the International Journal of Epidemiology found that bipolar has many common features that are consistent with people simply ‘reacting’ to life.
According to the study:
The results come from over 1,100 people who have been studied for over ten years. Over 730 had bipolar disorder, the rest did not.
Bipolar disorder involves very severe mood swings; it is a condition of extreme emotional states.
Someone experiencing the disorder will have periods of great energy and exhilaration at times. These could last weeks or often several months.
At other times they will 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 have found that there are many biological mechanisms which drive the disease, and many interactive external influences on it.
All of these elements combine to affect the disease as patients experience it.”
Some of the key findings were that among those with bipolar disorder:
- 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 bipolar disorder tends to run in families, there were no specific genes at its heart.
Professor McInnis said:
“If there was a gene with a strong effect like what we see in breast cancer, for instance, we would have found it.
We hope this new framework will provide a new approach to understand this disorder, and other complex diseases, by developing models that can guide a management strategy for clinicians and patients, and give researchers consistent variables to measure and assess.
Bipolar disorder has a lot to teach humankind about other illnesses, because it covers the breadths of human mood, emotion and behavior like no other condition.
What we can learn in bipolar about all these factors will be directly applicable to monitoring other disorders, and personalizing the approach to managing them.”
So according to this research, BPD is the result of humans reacting to the ups and downs of life – and it just so happens that some humans are more sensitive to reality than others.
Public figures who have famously suffered from Bipolar include: