Causes of Bipolar
The cause of bipolar disorder is not known, but it is thought to involve many different factors. Research suggests that it is the result of abnormalities in the way some nerve cells in the brain work or communicate. People with bipolar disorder are more vulnerable to emotional and physical stresses and as a result, upsetting life experiences, substance abuse, lack of sleep, or other stresses can trigger episodes of illness.
Bipolar disorder tends to run in families. A person has a 5% chance of inheriting bipolar disorder if one parent has the illness and a 30% chance if both parents have it. This risk may increase if other relatives also have the illness.
Course of Bipolar Disorder
Because bipolar disorder is usually a lifelong illness, you may need to take medicines for the rest of your life. However, there is a good chance that treatment will allow you to lead a very productive and happy life.
In most cases, symptoms can be managed through a combination of medicines, psychotherapy and social and emotional support. However, if an episode is severe, you may need to spend some time in a hospital.
Episodes can last days, months or sometimes even years. Some people recover completely between episodes and may go many years without any symptoms, while others continue to have depression or mild swings up and down.
Early diagnosis and proper treatment can help avoid many of the problems associated with bipolar disorder, such as alcohol / substance abuse, relationship difficulties, problems at work and suicide attempts. Without treatment, bipolar disorder tends to get worse. Over time a person may suffer more frequent and more severe manic and depressive episodes.