What goes wrong in the brain in bipolar disorder?

Ruth White, MPH
Social Work
The use of new brain-imaging technology, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron-emission tomography (PET), and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), have begun to give clues to the process of bipolar disorder in the brain. These technologies have revealed differences in the brains of people with bipolar disorder and those of people without the disease.
Bipolar 101: A Practical Guide to Identifying Triggers, Managing Medications, Coping with Symptoms, and More

More About this Book

Bipolar 101: A Practical Guide to Identifying Triggers, Managing Medications, Coping with Symptoms, and More

After receiving a bipolar diagnosis, you need clear answers. Bipolar 101 is a straightforward guide to understanding bipolar disorder. It includes all the information you need to control your...
Brain-imaging studies are helping scientists learn what goes wrong in the brain to produce bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses. New brain-imaging techniques allow researchers to take pictures of the living brain at work, to examine its structure and activity, without the need for surgery or other invasive procedures. These techniques include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

There is evidence from 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.

Continue Learning about Bipolar Disorder Causes & Risk Factors

Bipolar Disorder Causes & Risk Factors

Bipolar Disorder Causes & Risk Factors

The cause of bipolar disorder is not entirely known, and women and men are equally at risk. Experts agree that the disease runs in families, so it is believed to be hereditary. A combination of genetics, environmental stressors an...

d biochemical factors that result in an imbalance in brain chemicals all seem to play a role in triggering bipolar disorder.
More

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.