What Causes Bipolar Disorder?

What Causes Bipolar Disorder? - Bodhi Infusion Center

Bipolar disorder is a complex mental illness that can significantly impact an individual’s life. It is characterized by extreme mood swings that tend to alternate between periods of high energy and euphoria (mania or hypomania episodes) and periods of severe depression (depression episodes).

Bipolar disorder can be extremely debilitating, impeding your ability to work, study, and maintain meaningful relationships. The shifts in mood can last for days or weeks and are often sudden and unpredictable.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

As noted, bipolar disorder is characterized by two primary mood states – mania and depression. Symptoms of mania may include feelings of euphoria, increased energy levels, impulsivity, racing thoughts, difficulty sleeping, grandiose thinking, and poor judgment.

On the other hand, symptoms of depression can include persistent sadness, low energy levels, feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, changes in appetite, poor sleeping habits, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and suicidal thoughts.

Causes of Bipolar Disorder

While the exact cause of bipolar disorder is still not fully understood, researchers have identified several factors that may contribute to its development.


Genetic predisposition is one of the most significant potential risk factors for the development of bipolar disorder. Research has shown that bipolar disorder tends to run in families – indicating there is a genetic component to this debilitating mental illness.

Although genetic predisposition is believed to play a significant role in the development of bipolar disorder, not all individuals with bipolar disorder have a family history of the condition, which means other factors are involved.

Impaired Brain Structure and Chemistry

Abnormalities in brain structure and chemistry are another potential cause of bipolar disorder. Research has shown that individuals with bipolar disorder may exhibit subtle changes in brain structure compared to healthy individuals, which could contribute to impaired brain function and the onset of bipolar symptoms.

Neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that carry signals between neurons, have also been implicated in bipolar disorder. Research has shown that the levels of certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, and epinephrine, may be compromised in individuals with bipolar disorder, a factor that could also play a role in the development of the disorder.

Environmental Triggers

Environmental triggers are also believed to play a role in the development of bipolar disorder. Stressful life events, such as the death of a loved one, job loss, financial difficulties, or other traumatic experiences can trigger episodes of mania and depression.

Drugs and alcohol abuse can also disrupt neurotransmitter levels and impair brain function and could potentially trigger the onset of bipolar disorder.

At What Age Does Bipolar Disorder Develop?

Bipolar disorder can develop at any age, but the most common age of onset is in the late teenage years or early adulthood. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the average age of onset for bipolar disorder is 25 years.

However, bipolar disorder can also develop in childhood or adolescence, although it may be more challenging to diagnose the condition accurately during this stage of development.

Late-onset bipolar disorder is often rare and refers to individuals who experience their first manic episode in their late 40s or during their 50s. Studies show that only less than 10 percent of BD cases will develop after 50 years. This number drops to less than 5 percent after 60 years.

Final Thoughts

Bipolar disorder is a complex and debilitating mental illness that can have a significant impact on an individual’s life. It can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or social-economic background. While the exact cause of bipolar disorder is still not fully understood, researchers have identified several potential factors that may contribute to its development.

These factors include genetic predisposition, impaired brain structure and chemistry, and environmental triggers. If you or someone you know is experiencing signs of bipolar disorder, it is advisable to seek professional help as soon as possible. Early medical intervention has been linked to better treatment outcomes and improved quality of life. Innovative treatments like ketamine therapy offered at Bodhi Infusions have also been shown to provide relief for many symptoms of bipolar disorder, complementing traditional treatment plans.

If you or a loved one is grappling with bipolar disorder, consider reaching out to Bodhi Infusions in Boulder, CO, for compassionate and specialized bipolar disorder treatment. Our team is dedicated to providing personalized care that addresses both the emotional and physical aspects of bipolar disorder. Don’t wait to take the first step towards a balanced and healthier life—contact Bodhi Infusions today and discover a supportive path to wellness.

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