Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Bipolar Disorder Health Center

Font Size

Bipolar Disorder - Cause

The cause of bipolar disorder is not well understood, but evidence suggests that it runs in families.2 Your living environment and family situation may also play a role. Episodes of depression and mania may be caused by a problem with certain brain chemicals called neurotransmitters.

Antidepressant medicines can trigger a manic episode in a person who has bipolar disorder. But this may occur before the person is diagnosed, while he or she is seeking treatment for an episode of depression.

Recommended Related to Bipolar Disorder

Understanding Bipolar Disorder: The Basics

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depressive disorder, is a serious, double-edged mental illness. In contrast to the sustained bleakness of major depression (technically called unipolar disorder when episodes only involve major depression and no manic or hypomanic periods), bipolar disorder is characterized by cyclical periods of high energy and elation and then low energy and despair. The pattern of the mood alternations varies widely among those with the disorder. In some people, years...

Read the Understanding Bipolar Disorder: The Basics article > >

Sleep deprivation or substance abuse, including caffeine, can cause a person with bipolar disorder to have a manic episode.

1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 03, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

bipolar overview slideshow
Article
brain food
SLIDESHOW
 
Bipolar or Schizophrenia
Article
Woman lost in thought at the beach
Article
 
Feeling Ups and Downs
HEALTH CHECK
Foods to Avoid
Article
 
Anger And Depression
Video
Bipolar or Schizo
Video
 
Women and Bipolar
Article
Bipolar Symptoms
VIDEO
 
What is Mania
Article
MRI of a human brain
Slideshow