Spotlight on Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder, or manic depression, is a serious mental illness that may drastically affect an individual’s ability to function because of mood instability. Given the unpredictability of severe high (mania) and severe low (depression) mood states, people with bipolar disorder may struggle with social and workplace settings. Bipolar disorder affects mood, sleep, concentration, and reasoning. Some individuals may experience psychosis or may struggle with suicidal thoughts. Although the underlying cause of bipolar disorder is not clear, research in neurobiology and genetics provides some insight into this complex illness. Treatment of the disorder is primarily with mood stabilizers but often requires additional adjunctive medications. Additionally, psychosocial support and therapy are essential for maintaining stability.

In this article, Dr. John Hammond and Dr. David Geldmacher of the University of Alabama at Birmingham aim to provide distinction between bipolar disorder subtypes and includes updates on the current research regarding the underlying pathology as well as guidance on the pharmacologic treatment of the illness.

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