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Cause Of Manic Depression

QUESTION: What is the cause of manic depression?


Cause of manic depression The following list of possible causes shows there is no single ‘exclusive’ cause of manic depression.

Genetic Factor
The cause of manic depression is biological in origin and genetic -- Manic depression tends to run in families. Genetic abnormalities appear in chromosomes. A combination of biological, genetic, and environmental factors “appears to trigger and perpetuate the chemical imbalances in the brain that shape this complex disorder.” 1

Abnormal Brain Activity
The multi-faceted cause of manic depression has been revealed by imaging scans and other tests to the brain. These show:
  • Oversecretion of cortisol, a stress hormone
  • Excessive calcium influx into brain cells
  • Abnormal hyperactivity in parts of the brain associated with emotion and movement coordination
  • Low activity in parts of the brain associated with concentration, attention, inhibition, and judgment.1
Elevated level of vesicular monoamine transporter (VMAT2), a protein in the brain that regulates neurotransmitters, has been observed in the brainstems of bipolar disorder patients. “Neurotransmitters called gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) and norepinephrine have been implicated in mania.”1

Infectious Agents Like Viruses
Researchers are observing the role infectious agents may play as a trigger or cause of manic depression. The Borna virus and herpes simplex 2 virus are viruses that are under investigation concerning possible causes of manic depression or bipolar disorder.

Super-fast Biological Clock?
One interesting theory on the cause of manic depression or bipolar disorder is that there is a super-fast biological “clock” located in the hypothalamus, in the center of the brain, which is actually a tiny cluster of nerves called the supra chiasmatic nucleus or SCN. This regulates a person’s daily cycle of life or circadian rhythm and influences sleeping and waking.

Learn More About Manic Depression.

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