Bipolar Disorder is Not Just Another Manic Monday

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Commonly understood as depression, bipolar disorder is really a mental disorder that causes alternate periods of deep depression and then periods of elevated mood. But now here is new research that suggests the key role played by the PLCγ1 protein in the process leading to bipolar disorder. This then actually is a breakthrough in attempting to understand bipolar disorder.

With countless people all over the world suffering from the condition, bipolar disorder is a debilitating mental illness. People living with the disease experience drastic changes in mood and energy levels to a degree that interferes with their daily activities. With this new information we now know that a protein deficiency is responsible and could be a step forward in future treatment options.

The sad truth is that an overwhelming majority of cases of bipolar disease are rather severe. The causes of the malaise are unknown but again research says it is a genetic disposition and that background could be the cause of the illness. The gene encoding the cellular protein phospholipase Cγ1 is linked to bipolar disease although the exact mechanism that causes the disorder was not known until now.

This new research comes from Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology in Ulsan, South Korea. It has tested the role of phospholipase Cγ1 (PLCγ1) in mice and the findings are helping to explain the causative link between the protein and the disease. This study was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

The studied undertook the premise about occurrences in synapses or the ends of neurons that facilitate electric signaling between two brain cells. Scientists noticed impairment in the inhibitory transmission and synaptic plasticity that is, the synapses’ ability to change their shape, function, or strength over time.

The brain-derived neurotrophic factor is a protein that regulates several synaptic functions, including the activity of PLCγ1. The crucial synapse formation in the brain deficits led to an imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory transmission between the brain cells’ synapses. PLCγ1-deprived mice displayed symptoms like hyperactivity, reduced anxiety-like behavior, abnormally high feelings of pleasure, excessive hunger and impaired learning and memory, as well as abnormally high startle responses. Researchers administered drug treatment for BD to these mice and this reduced their symptoms.

Thus it appears that a neurochemical chain reaction leads to the disease. The synapses that do not have enough PLCγ1 are unable to fulfill their inhibitory function properly in excitatory neurons, because the BDNF is not working properly either. This causes a disproportion between excitatory synapses and inhibitory ones, eventually leading to bipolar symptoms. Until now, although the PLCγ1 gene had been suggested to play a role, it was unclear exactly how PLCγ1 affected interneuronal signaling and how it caused mental illness.

After ten long years of research findings suggest evidence that PLCγ1 is critical for synaptic function and plasticity and that the loss of PLCγ1 from the forebrain results in manic-like behavior playing a major role in the onset of bipolar disorder. The breakthrough is likely to influence research into the treatment of the condition and its symptoms.


Loss of Sense of Well Being

Masking Depression

Masking Depression

When feelings of extreme despondency overtake the psyche it marks the onset of depression. The state brings on low moods and possibly aversion to activity. Depression affects thoughts, feelings and behavior. A person with a depressed mood is sad, anxious, hopeless, helpless, irritable and restless in turns. There is loss of interest in everyday activities. Alternately one could be hyper active. Also a person may experience loss of appetite or conversely continually overeat.

Such a state of mind, if allowed to continue for long, leaves you in a shambles. You cannot concentrate, take decisions or think clearly. Excessive melancholia may even push someone to the brink of life. Other maladies could involve insomnia, excessive sleeping, fatigue, aches, pains, digestive problems and of course reduced energies. The persistence of sadness along with unexplained feelings of worthlessness may lead one towards drinking and pessimism making matters worse.

Often depression may not exhibit any external signs and be present in covert forms. Feelings of fatigue, constant worrying and feelings of doom or guilt are other attributes. Experiencing imagined or actual pains, aches and digestive troubles may also occur. Also there may not be really any specific disorder and one can suffer from physiological conditions – what are commonly now known as psychosomatic disorders. It leaves one feeling at a loss, unable to explain their condition.

Depression leads people to withdraw and hide behind their fears, imaginary or otherwise, but they do suffer from real mental trauma. This makes them shun personal contact, become reclusive till they might gradually shut out life. You may be sure to find depressive personalities hiding behind their surreal personas. The clinical condition may range from miserable mood swings to terribly debilitating mood disorders. So we must not be quick to dismiss people suffering from depression thinking it is an insignificant problem. All of us get depressed once in a while but the prolonged affair with melancholia requires due treatment. The thing is that such mental conditions are not taken as seriously as a physical disorder simply because you do not acknowledge the unseen pain.

The person hiding behind excessive internet usage could be a prime suspect for depressive disorders.  Content taking a backseat in his virtual world, his sleep patterns become disrupted making him more prone to depression. Check out the woman crying excessively for the most simplest of causes, creating a disconnect to remain aloof in a bid to numb her unmentionable pains. Watch out for people who stop grooming themselves. The unkempt youngster in shabby clothes may manifest a disordered personality.  Make note of eating habits of people around you – if they eat too little or a lot more – both are symptoms of appetite problems due to depression.

Depression is a psychiatric syndrome that hampers normal life. The fact is that some minds cannot cope with life events and changes that affect their psyches. From death of near and dear ones, disasters, isolation, relationships, emotional upheavals or catastrophic injury – anything might affect equanimity. If a person cannot bounce back to normalcy in two weeks time after an event and relapses into a state of chronic depressed mood, it may lead to severe clinical impairment. Such conditions include bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder and so on. India has a sizeable percentage of clinical patients who need doctors and specialists helping them to cope through.

Fixing Depression

Fixing Depression