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Bipolar Nature or Nurture Brain Function

Bipolar disorder: NatureNurture or Both

Bipolar is a disorder that affects the brain. You have both depression and mania. Does the environment cause Bipolar? Do our parent pass on the disorder? Studies of the brain and genetic seem to point to both, with studies in intelligence, criminally and mental are genetically rooted. Studies done in 60’s and 70’s of families of twins separated at birth and adopted out gave clarity to this debate and have determining a variety of patterns. Environment helps shape our temperament; genes equally can dictate an individual’s response from environmental forces. Temperament, not full-blown personality traits are inherited. This slice of chromosome our biological parents give us. Many behaviors and personality traits determines if we are shy or extroverted, along with the kinds of jobs we do, the kind of jokes we find funny, and the kind of people we like.

Those separated at birth from their parents and siblings and find each other much later find they have the same likes and dislikes of coffee, toothpaste, and foods along with common traits. They have the same mental disorder. Depression in children is more like to have a history of sociopath and alcoholism, depression or mania depressive illnesses.

Neurological examinations are important in locating chemical disorder of the many behaviors and most personality traits determined whether we are shy or that extroverted, along with the kind of jokes we find funny and the kinds of people in the slice of chromosomes that our parents pass to us at conception.

People with depression are likely to have a family history of sociopath, alcoholism, depression, or mania depressive disease. The symptoms of depression are a leading cause of failure in life, work, and relationships, losing interest in friends, hobbies, and work along with a loss of concentration, poor memory, and forgetfulness leading to suicide. Depression and other patterns of manic-depressive disease are chemical disorders of the brain, which can occur spontaneously. Other mental illness, drugs, medications, and environmental events can induce Bipolar disorder causing the synapse or neurotransmitters in the brain to misfiring. Synapse is the points at which nerve impulses transmitted from nerve cell to cell receivers. Neurotransmitters produced at the synapse of the neurons of the brain and travel up axons to the left or right of brain. If these are not working this can send a person into mania or depression, it is important they get the right diagnosis.

The tricycle antidepressants block the inactivation of Serotonin thus allowing these Neurotransmitters to be available for use by cerebral cortical nerve cells. The major tranquilizer widely used to treat mania in adults blocks the effect of neurotransmitters dopamine. The two most successful drugs in the treatment and prevention of manic episodes, lithium carbonate and carba-mazephine, have many different biologically actions.

An electrocardiogram (EKG), complete blood count with differential blood chemistry profile and thyroid profile with Electroencephalography ((EEG) is obtained before treating with an antidepressant medication. Administrating these before the treatment, this includes appropriate medication management (particularly before use of anti manic drugs).

Cognitive coaching is also a good way to help oneself or a loved one. It involves recognition that actions should dictate feeling and intelligence should overrule emotions they should act instead of react. Clinical cognitive psychological counseling maybe indicated for both the individual and the primary caretakers. The caretakers and the person need to decide what to do with this information. They will learn to act on intelligence and not emotional with such interactions being positive rewarding reassuring and supportive while intelligently ignoring the disturbing mood or emotion.

The treatment of depression is evolving to use of appropriate medication, environmental (home and school), communication system, cognitive coaching, and counseling. There are many old and new medication treatments best decided by a good doctor trained in diagnosis. It is very important to realize that bipolar is both genetic and environmental. Thus treating it as such people can live a normal and healthy life. The best way to help yourself or a loved one is to become well informed.


E Fuller Torrey, Ann E Bowler, Edward H Taylor, Irving I Gottesman

Schizophrenia and Manic-depressive Disorder: The Biological Roots of Mental Illness as Reveled by Landmark Study of Identical Twins