Research Finds Key Qualities of Bipolar Disorder


A new study has revealed key aspects of bipolar disorder, in addition to the development of a new framework to diagnose and track the condition


A 12-year study from the University of Michigan has revealed defining aspects of bipolar disorder, in addition to the development of a new framework to diagnose and track the condition.  The key findings will hopefully help researchers, clinical teams, and patients better understand the condition. These findings include:

1. Reoccurring Headaches More Frequent:

Migraines are three-and-a-half times more common in people with bipolar disorder, according to the study.

2. Dealing with Other Conditions Common:

Eating disorders, anxiety disorders, alcohol problems, and metabolic syndrome are among other conditions people with bipolar disorder deal with.

3. Poor Sleep Can Worsen Symptoms

Inadequate shuteye plays a major role in bipolar disorder symptoms, increasing the severity of depression and mania, especially among women with the condition.

4. Aspects of Speech Could Predict Mood Swings:

Key features of speech patterns can be used to foresee the need to prevent episodes of mania or depression, according to the study.

5. Saturated Fats a Factor in Symptoms:

Patients with bipolar disorder were found to have diets higher in saturated fats, according to the study. Connections were also discovered between the mood or level of symptoms in patients with bipolar disorder and certain fat molecules in their blood.

6. More to Genetics Behind the Condition:

While bipolar disorder does run in families, there is not a particular gene that is to blame. While two genes, CACNA1 and ANK3, seem to be involved in causing bipolar, many genetic variations have been found to be associated with the risk.

“If there was a gene with a strong effect like what we see in breast cancer, for instance, we would have found it,” said Melvin McInnis, M.D., a lead author of the study and Woodworth Professor of Bipolar Disorder and Depression in the U-M Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry. “We hope this new framework will provide a new approach to understand this disorder, and other complex diseases, by developing models that can guide a management strategy for clinicians and patients, and give researchers consistent variables to measure and assess.”


Read more about the study:
After Searching 12 Years for Bipolar Disorder’s Cause, Team Concludes It Has Many

  1. MJA what a capper med is called a mood stabilizer. The original one was Lithium. Now other meds often used for seizures are every day meds. They are in the category of anticonvulsants used to treat both bipolar and seizures. Bipolar is a spectrum with type I and 2 being most common but treated slightly differently. Your Dr can help you navigate when you need a PRN for hypomania,mania or depression. If you are more prone to mania antidepressants can throw you into mania. If you are prone to depression work closely to find a medicine regimen that helps. I have been doing this for 26 years and some bumps but no hospitals since diagnosis. Work on your sleep and overall wellness!

  2. I saw this happen to a relative taking saint johns wort alone. Went right into mania. Yes in danger if only taking SSRI alone when you have bipolar.

  3. What do you mean by capper med, MKJ? Lamictal or other mood stabilizer? My daughter is in UK, bipolar, and they just put her on SSRI alone.

    1. I heard if you have BP you always need to be on a mood stabilizer and and anti depressants together. Antidepressants don’t help mania and can kick off mania in some people.

  4. MKJ,
    I have BPII, so my Mania consists of over scheduling myself, spending too much on groceries & watching too much t.v. The DEPRESSION is the demon that paralyzes me. This has worked for me for about 5 years. I feel the best now I ever have since my diagnosis 15 years ago. Think outside the box. 🙂

  5. “Diets higher in saturated fats” ? Did the researchers take into consideration the MEDICATIONS the patients were on ? When I was being treated w/Paxil & Seroquel (for BP II) , I ATE CONTINUALLY. I gained 100 lbs., blew out both my knees. Dropped both meds, lost 80 lbs., found a Shrink willing to work WITH me & now am on Zoloft alone. This will NOT work for everyone. These meds. increase the appetite so I don’t believe this point in the research is accurate.

    1. Sheila, you must be unusual in your response to Paxil and Zoloft: I have been under the impression that SSRIs do not do well for bipolar depression. I’ve been on each, though before my correct diagnosis, and neither touched my depression. I heard once that an SSRI was once used secondarily to the primary antidepressant.

    2. if you are on Zoloft alone, if you have bipolar you are in danger of an induced manic state. SSRIs are contraindicated for bipolar UNLESS they have a capper med used to keep you from flying too high.
      Using SSRIs alone for bipolar without a med to cap and prevent manic phase, is malpractice.

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