The Shocking Cause of
Manic Depression

While the primary cause of manic depression is unknown, there are quite a few factors that contribute to manic depression. Some of these factors are understandable while others are a little shocking.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the primary causes are genetic factors and neurological factors. However, there has also been research that suggests that environmental factors can also play a role. This is not shocking but what is shocking to learn is that certain medications can trigger manic depression.



Medication Factors

While antidepressants are common in treating depression, they have an adverse effect on those that are suffering with Bipolar Disorder. In fact, while they are not the cause of manic depression, they can actually make things worse, triggering a manic episode. So, what kind of medication would be used to treat manic depression? Mood stabilizers, such as lithium, are a common, effective treatment for bipolar disorder or manic depression.

There are several other medications that can cause manic episodes such as:

  • Appetite suppressants

  • Over-the-counter cold medications

  • Corticosteroids, such as prednisone

  • Excessive Caffeine

  • Thyroid medications

    Genetic Factors

    Genetics, of course, plays a role not only in manic depression but all kinds of depression. In fact, genetics is the primary cause of manic depression. If you come from a family that has had a history of depression, it is likely something that you will confront as well. Here are some interesting statistics.

  • If you have a family history of depression you are 50% more likely to experience it as well
  • If both parents have Bipolar Disorder, you are 25% more likely
  • If your non-identical twin has it, you are 25% more likely
  • If your identical twin has it, there is over a 50% chance
  • Men and women have an equal chance of being diagnosed
  • Neurological Factors

    From a neurological perspective, research has suggested that those with Bipolar Disorder actually have an elevated level of protein in their brain called vesicular monoamine transporters. These proteins help to regulate the neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine.

    When the neurotransmitters are not being adequately regulated it causes an imbalance which leads to a depressive, manic or combination state of being. These neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers in the brain. Also, brain imaging studies have been done that have revealed the following potential cause of manic depression as well:

  • Abnormally high levels of calcium in the brain cells

  • Oversecretion of a stress hormone called cortisol

  • Hyperactivity in areas of the brain responsible for emotions and motor skills

  • Hypoactivity in areas of the brain responsible for concentration, reasoning, focus and judgement

    Environmental Factors

    Environmental factors can be a cause of manic depression as well. Environmental factors include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Drug and alcohol abuse: While this is not a direct cause, the use of drugs and alcohol can trigger a manic or depressive episode. Hard core drugs such as amphetamines, ecstacy, cocaine or barbiturates can trigger a manic episode. Conversely, things like alcohol, pain killers and tranquilizers can cause a depressive episode.
  • Traumatic life event: When an individual is predisposed to manic depression, or Bipolar Disorder, a traumatic experience can induce an episode.
  • Viruses: Some research suggests that the Borna virus as well as the Herpes Simplex 2 virus might be possible causes
  • High stress levels: When an individual who is vulnerable to potential bipolar disorder, stressful life events can lead to manic depression as well. These life events can be positive or negative such as the loss of a loved one, losing a job, having a baby, getting married, financial stress, or retirement.
  • Lack of Sleep
  • Seasonal Changes: I’m sure you have heard of seasonal depression , also known as seasonal affective disorder. It comes about during winter months when there is less light. Research has shown that the seasons can affect a person’s mood. 
  • During the spring and summer months, those with Bipolar Disorder are more likely to be manic. Conversely, during fall and winter, depressive episodes are more likely.

    If you have manic depression or Bipolar Disorder, you are not alone. There are many famous people with manic depression as well.

    After receiving a proper diagnosis and treatment, most have gone on to live very productive, successful lives. A friend of mine has a great site you can go in an effort to learn more about Bipolar Disorder BipolarLives.com. It's packed with great information and can be a great resource for you.

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