Biochemistry of Bipolar Disorder
Doctor Ellen Leibenluft discusses some of the biochemicals that have been associated with bipolar disorder, including dopamine, serotonin, and glutamate.
There are a number of brain chemical messenger systems that have been implicated in bipolar disorder, certainly dopamine is one. Dopamine, of course, has been implicated in schizophrenia which is characterized by psychosis, when people have hallucinations or delusions [and] kind of lose touch with reality. An important thing to know is that people with bipolar disorder can also become psychotic, either when theyâ€™re manic, in which case they tend to have very grandiose sorts of delusions, or when theyâ€™re depressed in which case they tend to feel extremely badly about themselves [and] think that terrible things are happening in the world. Given that people with bipolar disorder can sometimes become psychotic, itâ€™s not surprising that dopamine has also been implicated in bipolar disorder. Of course, one pole of bipolar disorder is depression, and we know that serotonin has a good bit to do with the brain mechanisms of depression, so that has also been implicated in bipolar disorder. Recently there has been more interest in glutamate which is the major excitatory neurotransmitter; the one that makes the neurons fire. For example, thereâ€™s some preliminary data using Riluzole, which is a medication which damps down glutamate, using that to try to treat bipolar disorder. So chances are that there are a number of neurotransmitter systems that are involved in bipolar disorder. It probably ultimately may be hard to find one thatâ€™s not we would say, and the issue is putting all the pieces of the puzzle together.
neurotransmitter, bipolar, disorder, riluzole, messenger system, dopamine, glutamate, serotonin, delusions, psychosis, ellen, leibenluft
Doctor Ellen Leibenluft explains that neurotransmitters and neuromodulators in the brain are heavily inter-connected and work together as a system.
Doctor Ellen Leibenluft discusses biochemical treatments for biploar disorder, including pescriptions of lithium and Valproate, which target second-messenger systems.
Doctor Ellen Leibenluft discusses the similarities between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, which have some genetic risk factors in common.
An overview of bipolar disorder-related content on Genes to Cognition Online.
An interactive chromosome map of the genes and loci associated with schizophrenia.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter associated with a number of cognitive disorders, namely depression, bipolar and schizophrenia. Professor Trevor Robbins explains how the serotoninergic system works.
Doctor Ellen Leibenluft explains that women and men are equally likely to develop bipolar disorder. Women are, however, more likely to develop the disorder after giving birth.
Doctor Ellen Liebenluft explains that individuals with bipolar disorder can spend some time in a normal mood, which is called euthymia.
Doctor Ellen Leibenluft explains that although individuals with bipolar disorder can have trouble interpreting emotional expressions, this is much more subtle than in autism.
Doctor Ellen Leibenluft explains that there is no one gene for bipolar disorder. Instead, what we have what are called genes of small effect.