Bipolar Disorder

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What causes Bipolar Disorder?

Most scientists now agree that there is no single cause for bipolar disorder - rather, many factors act together to produce the illness.

Because bipolar disorder tends to run in families, researchers have been searching for specific genes that may increase a person's chance of developing the illness. Initial research in this area suggests that bipolar disorder, like other mental illnesses, does not occur because of a single gene.  Instead, it appears that many different genes act together, in combination with other factors of the person or the person's environment, to cause bipolar disorder.

There is evidence from brain imaging studies that the brains of people with bipolar disorder may differ from the brains of healthy individuals. As the differences are more clearly identified and defined through research, scientists will gain a better understanding of the underlying causes of the illness, and eventually may be able to predict which types of treatment will work most effectively for each individual.

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