Bipolar disorder is also known as bipolar disorder and is a psychiatric disorder that is characterized by extreme periods of depression and high moods. Elevated moods are more energetic and active than normal, whereas periods of depression include weeping and sadness, negativity, modesty, or unpleasant social ways. There are forms of bipolar disorder which are not specified; Bipolar I, Bipolar II, Cyclothymia, among others. Over time, in response to medication or the atmosphere of the person, symptoms get more severe and moods escalate. Across all directions, the symptoms affect the person. Changes in energy levels, sleep patterns, and clarity of mind; injury to self, and attempting suicide are some of the symptoms of the bipolar disorder. Treatment options have been sought to prevent and control bipolar disorder, and while some of this treatment revolves around psychotherapy, the rest is medication. This medicines range from antipsychotics to mood stabilizers and may prevent relapse in some cases. This paper shall look deeper into bipolar disorder, relating it to neurotransmission, symptomology relating to these neurotransmitters and the anatomic changes observed during medication.
Neurotransmission in Bipolar Disorder
Neurotransmission is on the body’s molecular level and involves the neurotransmitters that receiving and transport signals. During manic episodes, dopamine, a neurotransmitter that accounts for mood cycling, increases in transmission. The opposite happens during the depression and the individual experiences extremely low moods. Dopamine is transmitted less and results in lowered feelings. Glutamate, another neurotransmitter that is responsible for the communication between one cell and the other, also increases significantly during manic episodes of the disorder. Lithium is the most commonly used drug for mood stabilization and is very effective in treating high dopamine levels, which are manic episodes of the disorder (Juruena, 2012). In some cases, it is also used to treat depression where it decreases the rate of suicide. The drug may take some weeks to reach full effect and control the patient’s moods (Miklowitz & Gitlin, 2014). Some side effects of lithium include gaining weight, drowsiness, weakness and physical fatigue, excessive thirst and increased urination.
Bipolar Disorder Symptomology about Neurotransmission
What causes bipolar disorder is still not known to doctors, a greater understanding of the mental functions that are affected during bipolar related episodes has been gathered over the years. There are chemicals found in the brain and are involved in the brain, and bodily functions have been linked to the extreme moods experienced in bipolar disorder. These chemicals are; noradrenaline also called norepinephrine, serotonin, GABA (gamma-aminobutyrate), glutamate, acetylcholine and as mentioned earlier, dopamine. Carbamazepine is a drug used to treat neuropathic pain caused by fluctuation of these neurotransmitters. Although it is the most efficient and very affordable, it is used as a secondary drug due to its extraordinary range of side effects which include a decrease in bone marrow and suicidal thoughts. Another form of medication is benzodiazepines that can help control agitation and muscle stiffness. In treating bipolar disorder, these drugs act as serotonin production blocking agents that prevent the production of the chemical entirely.
Anatomic Changes Caused by Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder inevitably affects a patient’s life, socially, psychologically and anatomically. Social awkward manners, creating distance from family members and other social relationships including other aspects of a patient’s life are some social effects of bipolar disorder. The disorder is primarily psychological taking into consideration that it affects the mental functions that dictate moods and attitudes. In the long term, bipolar disorder and the treatment given have effects that may have an impact on the biological systems. Lithium, for instance, may result in kidney problems in the long-term. While bipolar disorder itself has no real effect, the episodes it causes that lead to bodily harm and unhealthy lifestyle choices accounts for effects of bipolar disorder in the human body. Suicide attempts may alter essential functions that last a lifetime despite treatment. Depression leading to substance abuse and rash decisions may also cause anatomic effects that permanently damage the body.
Neurotransmitters are an essential part of the anatomy of the human body and the effects resulting from bipolar disorder directly determine the state of the patient’s anatomy. As different drug treatments focus on dealing with bipolar disorder by affecting neurotransmission, the anatomy of the body is altered but in a helpful way to the patient, such that the neurotransmitters are either elevated or reduced. Bipolar disorder directly influences cognitive and cortical activity which are primarily controlled by atomic functions, and the related symptoms are experienced in patients (Mohler, 2012). Drugs like Haloperidol, which are antipsychotic, are used in extreme cases when the patient does not respond to lithium treatment. They are also used as a secondary drug when lithium is yet to take effect which is some weeks (Vieta, 2013). These medicines affect the neurotransmitters either in cases of acute mania or depression.
The importance of neurotransmitters in the study of the causes of bipolar disorder is undeniable. Their function is utilized by the disorder and causes the symptoms that indicate the different types of bipolar disorder. It is a process that begins when neurotransmitters receive altered signals from the brain. Why this happens has not been realized by doctors. The message received is interpreted into thoughts, and these are ideas that inform the immediate actions of the patient resulting in either extreme manic expressions or sad ones. Medication attempts to control these neurotransmitters that are responsible for the transmitting of the message to the brain. By doing this, the patient experiences fewer symptoms. If successful, the treatment does away with the disorder ultimately allowing the patient to live a normal life.
Juruena, M. F. (2012). Clinical, Research and Treatment Approaches to Affective Disorders. Croatia: InTech.
Miklowitz, D. J., & Gitlin, M. J. (2014). Clinician’s Guide to Bipolar Disorder: Integrating Pharmacology and Psychotherapy. New York: The Guilford Press.
Mohler, H. (2012). Pharmacology of GABA and Glycine Neurotransmission. Heidelberg: Springer.
Vieta, E. (2013). Managing Bipolar Disorder in Clinical Practice. Springer Healthcare Communications.