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Bipolar Disorder Health Center

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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 illness, 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 of...

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.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
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.
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