Biochemical Treatments for Bipolar Disorder
Doctor Ellen Leibenluft discusses biochemical treatments for biploar disorder, including pescriptions of lithium and Valproate, which target second-messenger systems.
There have been a number of studies to try to understand how the treatments in bipolar disorder work. In fact, one of the strategies thatâ€™s been used to try to understand whatâ€™s wrong biochemically in the brain in people with bipolar disorder is to trace the treatments backwards; look and say 'ok lithium works in bipolar disorder, what does lithium do in the brain?' or valproate [is] a similar kind of thing. Lithium appears to impact on a number of second messengers. In particular thereâ€™s been a lot of evidence in bipolar disorder that itâ€™s not just the neurotransmitters that are on the cellâ€™s surface that are involved in bipolar disorder but also the second messengers, which are the ones that get involved once the signal gets inside the cell. One particular such messenger for example is called GSK-3 and that has been implicated in the mechanism of action of lithium. Lithium seems to perhaps work on that particular messenger system, and that may have something to do with why itâ€™s effective in bipolar disorder. Thatâ€™s just one example though, there are many such others. Valproate for example works on the gabaergic system so thatâ€™s another neurotransmitter. Of course, the atypical anti psychotics which are effective in bipolar disorder work on both serotonergic and dopaminergic neurotransmitters, so that also implicates those systems in bipolar disorder.
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Doctor Ellen Leibenluft discusses some of the biochemicals that have been associated with bipolar disorder, including dopamine, serotonin, and glutamate.
Professor Wayne Drevets discusses ways in which lithium may affect bipolar disorder. It affects multiple neurotransmitter systems and may protect brain structures that are atrophied in bipolar disorder.
Doctor Ellen Leibenluft explains that neurotransmitters and neuromodulators in the brain are heavily inter-connected and work together as a system.
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.
Doctor Ellen Leibenluft discusses the similarities between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, which have some genetic risk factors in common.
Doctor Ellen Leibenluft discusses the question of over-diagnosis in childhood bipolar disorder, which may be caused by a gap in diagnostic ctiteria.