The central nervous system is a collection of cells within the brain specialized to send specific signals throughout the body in order to relay the messages necessary for proper functioning. The way these cells, also called neurons, communicate with one another is through the process of releasing neurotransmitters. A balanced proportion of neurotransmitters are crucial for a healthy functioning mind. In situations where the neurotransmitters get out of sync by becoming too prevalent or sparse within the synaptic clefts, a wide spectrum of mental illness can be the result.
Manic-Depression, also known as Bipolar disorder, is an example of the malfunctioning neurons responsible for the regulation of certain neurotransmitters. Through a critical analysis of this glitch in the system, one can attempt to further understand one aspect of the bipolar brain, as well as understand how certain medications may work to alleviate symptoms.
In order to understand the effects of said malfunctions, it is vital to brief crash course in what it means to be bipolar. This disorder is typically characterized by periods of intense mania, followed closely by deep, unadulterated depression with “mixed” periods sprinkled throughout. Manic periods are characterized by intense feelings of euphoria. This may seem like a positive, however these phases typically lead to bouts of impaired judgment. Behaviors can become grandiose in nature and look extremely hyperactive. The person may have raised libido, want to stay up all night, and exhibit overall decreased inhibition. The depression that follows these bouts of ecstasy comes quickly, and they are both dark and unforgiving. Individuals with bipolar disorder lack a middle groun...
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... Philippe Huguelet, Linda E. Ohl, Robert A. Koeppe, Michael R. Kilbourn, Jodie M. Carr, Bruno J. Giordani, Kirk A. Frey (2000) High vesicular monoamine transporter binding in asymptomatic bipolar I disorder: Sex Differences and Cognitive Correlates. American Journal of Psychiatry. (Vol. 157, pp. 1619-1628).
McEwen, B. (1999). Stress and hippocampal plasticity. (Vol. 22, pp. 105-122). New York,NY: Harold and Margaret Milliken Hatch Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology, The Rockefeller University. Retrieved from http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.neuro.22.1.105
Purse, Â. M. (n.d.). Mood Stabilizers Medications for Bipolar Disorder - What Are Mood Stabilizers. Bipolar Disorder Symptoms, Diagnosis, Medications, Treatment - Coping With Bipolar Disorder. Retrieved April 10, 2014, from http://bipolar.about.com/od/moodstabilizers/a/moodstabilizers.htm
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