Bipolar II is not completely understood by medical professionals. However, the causes of bipolar disorder have been revealed in greater detail over the past ten to twenty years. The mental illness includes periods and episodes of extreme highs, known as hypomania, and extreme lows, known as depression. Each of these episodes last between a few days to a few weeks and can occur a few times every year.
While the exact causes of bipolar disorder cannot be pinpointed at this time, doctors have stated that the imbalance in the brain can be caused by environmental, neurochemical, and genetic factors. The severity of Bipolar II is largely based upon the environment and lifestyle of the individual, as well as how much stress exists in their life.
Causes of Bipolar Disorder: Environment
- Someone who is genetically predisposed to bipolar 2 may have their illness triggered by a negative life event
- Alcohol, drugs, and poor health habits
- High amounts of stress at an early age
- Extended substance abuse can possibly worsen the severity of the illness.
Causes of Bipolar Disorder: Neurochemicals
Bipolar II and other manic-depressive disorders occur as a biological disturbance in a very specific part of the brain. The failure in the mind is due to malfunctioning neurotransmitters that are responsible for carrying messages that would eventually release pleasing chemicals in the body (such as serotonin and norepinephrine. Doctors believe that this may be one of the causes of bipolar disorder because low amounts of these specific neurochemicals are found in those people who are diagnosed with the illness.
Causes of Bipolar Disorder: Genetics
The strongest link we know about in regards to the causes of bipolar disorder is the fact that it runs in the family. Similar to depression, about fifty percent of patients with bipolar II disorder have had an immediate family member with a similar disorder. Men or women who have had a parent with the disease are about 20% more likely to have it themselves. Interestingly enough, clinical studies performed on both identical and non-identical twins have done a great deal to reveal the genetic causes of bipolar disorder. Scientists have proven that if one twin has bipolar II disorder, then the other twin has up to a 70% chance to develop a mood disorder within their lifetime. That’s some strong evidence!
When mental illnesses go misdiagnosed the end result can be scary and dangerous. What causes life-changing diseases like bipolar disorder are sometimes impossible to pinpoint. And too often the aggressor in attacks can also be classified as the victim, because of medical professionals inability to identify what is making those people tick. It is then up to pros like forensic psychologists, potentially carrying a forensic psychology online masters, to fill in the blanks and figure out exactly what made that person tick.
Other experts say that there may be other causes of bipolar disorder that are much less known or understood. Certain studies have shown that lack of sleep, or poor sleep habits, may increase the frequency, duration, and severity of hypomania and depression in bipolar 2 sufferers. Others have shown that having children later in life puts them at a much higher risk of developing the mental illness than those couples who have children at a younger age.
Understanding of these issues will continue to expand over time. At this point, the best thing that anyone can do to prevent a mood disorder such as this is to simply live a healthy lifestyle. Eat well, exercise, keep company with similar goals, and refrain from substance abuse that may trigger dormant issues. The causes of bipolar disorder will be revealed as technology advances.