Bipolar Disorder Essay

1066 words - 5 pages

Since Bipolar Disorder involves the cycling between two different states of mania and major depression, there are many different etiological factors in play. The neurotransmitters that are involved in this disease are serotonin, norepinehrine and dopamine. There has been some preliminary research involved with glutamate as well. In patients with the depressive portion of Bipolar Disorder, Serotonin levels were found to be lower than healthy, non-depressed patients (Young, Warsh, Kish, Shannak & Hornykeiwicz, 1994). Young et. al. (1994) found reduced amounts serotonin’s metabolite, 5-HIAA, in frontal and parietal lobes of deceased bipolar disorder patients. Norepinehphrine was also found to be lower as well. During the depressed state of bipolar disorder, the concentration of norepinehphrine ‘s synthesis enzyme, tyrosine hydroxylase, was lower in the locus coeruleus than patients who only had depression and not Bipolar Disorder (Wiste, Arango, Ellis, Mann, & Underwood, 2008). Although in the mania cycle of Bipolar Disorder, Norepinephrine is found to be elevated in the brain (Manji & Lenox,2000). Furthermore, Dopamine was also found to be lower in the brain as well during the depressed state of Bipolar disorder. According to a study by Vawter, Freed, Kleinman (2000), the concentration of the metabolite of dopamine, homovanillic acid, was found to be significantly lower in the parietal lobe of the brain. Dopamine Agonists, while they can treat the depression cycle of the disorder, can also bring about the mania in the disorder; therefore, the pharmacological treatment of the Bipolar disorder must be regulated heavily so that the treatment itself doesn’t exacerbate the disorder instead of treat the disorder (Manji et. al. 2003). Glutamate plays an intriguing part of the puzzle of the underlying etiology of Bipolar Disorder. In a postmortem study, Glutamate levels were actually increased in the frontal lobes (Hashimoto, Sawa, & Iyo, 2007).
While there are imbalances with the neurotransmitters in Bipolar Disorders that may play a role in the exacerbation of the disorder, there are also malfunctioning portions of the brain that play a role in causing the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder. The Basal Ganglia has been shown to play a large part in the etiology of Bipolar Disorder. When the Basal Ganglia is not working correctly, it has been shown to impair the executive functions of the brain, attention as well as information processing, which could be symptoms of the mania cycle of Bipolar Disorder (Bearden, Hoffman & Cannon, 2001). Specifically in Bipolar Disorder, the Ventral Putamen of the Basal Ganglia, which helps process motivational and emotional information, was found to have reduced size signifying its loss of function (Hwang et. al., 2006). Another source of brain malfunction is the Amygdala. The Amygdala plays a key role in regulation of emotion in the brain. In a recent study in adolescents with Bipolar Disorder, there was a reduced volume of...

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