Both environmental and genetic factors can trigger Bipolar Disorder.
Often, if given a chance, we would choose to be happy always. But then getting back to reality, continuous happiness is rare. Experiencing the sad, low moments is what makes you appreciate the good times.
It’s normal for you to experience highs and lows in life. But what if you get very emotional highs and lows? What if in your great moments you feel overly enthusiastic, irritable, or euphoric while in your lows you feel sad, hopeless, and have no interest in life?
Mental illnesses may take a while to show because, in such a case of extreme emotions, one may be living with bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder, initially known as manic depression, is a mental illness that is characterised by emotional highs known as hypomania and lows called depression.
The exact cause of the illness is not known, but researchers have found certain factors, that when present makes you more susceptible to developing the disorder. This article will shed light on the factors that will trigger this illness.
Most mental illnesses pass down generation to generation. Children with parents or a family member with the disorder are more likely to develop it sooner than those who don’t.
The symptoms of the disorder tend to show up during the teenage years or early adulthood. Research shows that the typical age of developing the illness in adulthood is at around 25. Research also shows that parents diagnosed at an early age shows that their kids have a one-third likelihood to develop the disorder in the same period.
2. High-Stress Levels
Experiencing a stressful situation during your childhood can cause you to develop the disorder in your adulthood. Being in a domestically abusive home, sexual abuse, or a traumatic event can trigger the mood disorder.
Working in a stressful environment can also trigger the disorder. The current generation has people working for many hours. The lack of adequate sleep can trigger bipolar. The sudden death of a loved one can also cause manic depression.
3. Substance Abuse
There is an assumption that the use of substances causes manic depression. The premise is inaccurate. Substance abuse results in the early onset of hypomania or manic symptoms. Some medication also triggers bipolar; therefore, before diagnosis, the doctor may require the patient to detox.
Other than the genetic factor, children living in a situation where their parents tend to show mood swings, use alcohol and drugs, or abuse, may develop the disorder. Although most children of parents who have bipolar don’t have the condition, they may get other mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, depression, ADHD, or substance abuse.
People who are already genetically predisposed to the illness and are subject to environmental stressors such as verbal and physical abuse may get triggered.
Some studies have been done to show the correlation between prenatal infections and the infant’s predisposition to getting bipolar disorder. Initially, it was believed that some maternal viral infections cause bipolar. Such viral infections include influenza, varicella-zoster and herpesvirus 6. The studies showed that there was no correlation whatsoever, and the claims that the viruses cause bipolar were weak.
5. Brain Structure
Research shows that bipolar disorder results from improper functioning of the chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. There are three chemicals in the brain: dopamine, serotonin, and noradrenaline.
The function of serotonin is to regulate mood, sexual desire, social skills, sleep, memory, and digestion. Noradrenaline functions as a neurotransmitter and as a hormone used in the mobilisation of the brain and body when action is required. On the other hand, dopamine is a neurotransmitter that moves in distinct pathways. One of the paths is responsible for reward-driven motivational behaviour.
When there are low levels of serotonin and noradrenaline, it can result in depression and mood disorder.
Numerous factors can trigger bipolar, both environmental and genetic. Being predisposed to any of these conditions can trigger bipolar. It’s safe to see a doctor as soon as possible in case you or your loved one shows any signs of a mood disorder. It’s not easy to establish causality of bipolar disorder, therefore, seeking medical advice when signs show is the best way to stay ahead of it.