Bipolar Disorder and Genetic Predisposition

1997 Words Jun 23rd, 2012 8 Pages
Bipolar Disorder: A Case of Bad Genes?
December 13, 2011

Abstract
Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression, is a mood disorder in which a person experiences alternating episodes of both depression and mania. Bipolar disorder affects 1 in 100 people in the world. Throughout history, scientists and physicians have tried to find the exact cause of the disorder, but only in the last 30 years been able to confirm genetics as a culprit. Advances in research have enabled scientists to accurately pinpoint genetic variants that can alter each patient’s reaction to certain medication and treatment methods. Scientists are studying the genetic underpinnings of bipolar disorder in order one day, in the future, to be able to
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(Altshuler et al., 2010) In some cases, substance abuse has become a way of self-medicating instead of dealing with the side effects of prescribed medications to combat the symptoms of bipolar disorder.
The Causes of Bipolar Disorder:
A Thousand Years of Theories and Research Throughout history, there have been many ideas and theories on what causes bipolar disorder. Greek physician Hippocrates believed “dysregulation of four bodily fluids, blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm” (Walden & Gruze, 2004) were the cause in the rapid mood change. During the second century, Galen hypothesized that the cause of the disorder began in the brain. Not more than forty years ago, bipolar disorder was believed to be the result of bad parenting.
Over the last 120 years, researchers have concluded that the disorder is genetic, although others will argue that genetics is not the only factor. In the 1890’s scientists, used phenomenology to determine genetics was a factor, in the 1930’s they began using twin and adoption studies to further prove their hypothesis of genetic involvement in the development of bipolar disorder. Linkage studies began in the late 1960’s but really transformed with the introduction of molecular markers in genetic mapping twenty years later. Currently researchers are focusing more on genome-wide studies and narrowing down particular variants on different genes. (McMahon, 2007)
Although

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