There are many theories about the causes of bipolar disorder. People leading a difficult life due to circumstances are definitely more likely to have a myriad of mental health problems. This is also true of people who’ve suffered a difficult upbringing. People who have family members that are either overprotective of them or extremely critical have a higher likelihood of having ongoing mental health problems. Hence, an individual’s history and current family dynamics should be taken into consideration when treating individuals with bipolar disorder by including family therapy as well as individual therapy in any treatment plan.
Causes of Bipolar Disorder: Biological Factors
If someone has a parent or a sibling with bipolar disorder, they have more than ten times the likelihood of becoming diagnosed with bipolar disorder themselves when compared to someone else whose family is unaffected. There have been many attempts to determine which genes are related to the causes of bipolar disorder, but so far there has been no determination. Evidence does exist that certain neurotransmitters in the brain may play a part, such as dopamine and serotonin.
It is clear that our thoughts and emotions do involve certain chemical changes that take place in the brain, however what is not clear is the cause-and-effects of these changes. What can be seen in some with bipolar disorder is a slight difference in the structure and functioning of their brain. But this does not mean that the cause-and-effect of these differences is clear. For example, some of these differences may very well be the result of using certain types of medication for a prolonged period of time. There are so many variables across time of people’s experiences, both within themselves and with others, that the only conclusion to be drawn is that the causes of bipolar disorder are related to a combination of many different factors interacting over time.
Causes of Bipolar Disorder: Psychological Factors
People who suffer from depression have a tendency to perceive everything in a negative light, and this includes themselves. This negative thinking creates a vicious cycle that feeds their depression. On the other hand, when people are elated and very active, the natural inclination is for people in this state to perceive this as their true self, and they continue on in the same vein. Evidence shows that these styles of thinking go to the extremes in people who have moods so extreme that they are diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Evidence also shows that some who’ve been diagnosed as bipolar exhibit this very extreme way of thinking even when they are not in a state of severe depression or extreme elation. This style of thinking can be recognized by the person and caught in time before it fully develops. For example when their thoughts begin racing, they can stop and force themselves to slow down and rest. These styles of thinking have been shown to respond to cognitive behavior therapy. Thus, cognitive behavior therapy can help prevent relapses and may curtail the length of bipolar episodes.
Assessment of Bipolar Disorder
Either the person who is experiencing extreme mood changes, close family members or friends are the first to recognize problems and get the person to see their doctor. If the person is in a state of elation and over activity, this may not necessarily be seen as problem by their general practitioner and go unreported. However if their GP does think the patient’s experiences may meet the criteria for bipolar disorder, they will most likely be sent for an assessment.
This should be an in-depth assessment covering all of the patient’s life history, present circumstances, and their thoughts about the problem. There should be a discussion of any possible triggers that set them off, as well as the kinds of coping strategies they use. The assessment should also include the patient’s strengths and the scope of their support system. It is fairly common that an assessment be an ongoing process. A patient can be given a number of different diagnoses and treatment plans before a definitive agreed-upon diagnosis is made. Just as the causes of bipolar disorder are complicated by many factors, the diagnosis often takes time. For this reason, it is important to find a treatment provider and stick with them so they can assess the bipolar symptoms over time.
Treatment for Bipolar Disorder
Because our treatment for depression relies on evidence based practices, our Intensive Outpatient Program shares many common methods with other successful treatment methods. The foundation of our treatment program for relies on the principles of the stages of change, cognitive behavioral therapy, solution focused treatment, skills training and identifying repetitive dysfunctional behavioral relationship patterns to promote recovery from depression and other mental health disorders.
In 2011, the latest year for which state-specific figures are available, Tennessee’s age-adjusted suicide rate was 14.6 per 100,000 people, translating into 938 reported suicide deaths. This rate and number are down from previous years but are still above the national average of 12.4 per 100,000. In Tennessee, about 3.7% of all adults will have serious thoughts of suicide. Furthermore, less half of all individuals with any mental illness in Tennessee will receive mental health treatment.
Effective treatment for depression is available. In fact, our Intensive Outpatient Program in Memphis, TN that has been proven to be effective in the treatment of these disorders in seven peer reviewed treatment outcome studies. Our treatment center provides services to those who need more treatment than one hour a week, but less than 24 hour care, by providing three hours of treatment per day, three to five days per week, in an intensive outpatient setting. It is also important to keep in mind that women and men often experience depression differently and therefore the presence of depression may also appear differently based on gender.
If you or a loved one is showing signs of bipolar depression, they should be assessed by a trained mental health professional who can help design a treatment plan for depression that can result in recovery. Treatment for depression can be highly successful and people who have completed our program have resulted in our treatment program receiving very highly consumer satisfaction scores and reviews. Call us at 901-682-6136 to schedule an appointment.