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Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is characterized by unusual and extreme mood changes ranging from mania to depression:

  • Elevated mood: emotional highs, abnormally happy, energetic
  • Depressive mood: sad or hopeless feelings;lose interest or pleasure in most activities

Bipolar disorder also provokes changes in energy levels and in behavior.

Bipolar disorder is not the same as the high-and-lows that everyone has. Bipolar symptoms are more powerful than that. They can damage relationships. Some people with bipolar disorder try to hurt themselves or attempt suicide.

People with bipolar disorder can get better and lead successful lives with help.

Bipolar disorder affects both men and women and generally starts between the ages of 15 and 25. Its exact cause is unknown but it does appear more often in those persons whose family has a history of the disorder.

Symptoms

The manic phase of bipolar disorder can last from days to months and can have the following symptoms:

  • Being easily distracted
  • Less need for sleep
  • Deficient mood control, being agitated, irritable, or "touchy"
  • Lack of judgment
  • Doing risky things, lack of self control, like spending a lot of money or having reckless sex , drinking
  • Irritability, racing thoughts, unusual talkativeness, inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
  • Think they can do a lot of things at once and are more active than usual
  • Exaggerated goal-directed activity (either socially, at work or school, or sexually) or agitation

 

A depressive episode may include:

  • Feeling very "down" or sad
  • Having trouble concentrating, remembering or making decisions
  • A change in appetite causing weight loss or gain
  • Feeling tired or worn out, uninterested
  • Feeling worthless or excessive or inappropriate guilt, loss of self-esteem
  • Feeling worried and empty
  • A loss of interest in fun activities and friends, and becoming less active
  • Having trouble sleeping or excessive sleeping
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

In most people with bipolar disorder, there is no clear cause that can be identified as a trigger leading to the different manic or depression periods.

Prevention

Many persons who suffer from bipolar disorder do not know when they are becoming more manic or depressive. Joining a support group can help you and your family connect to others facing similar challenges by sharing experiences.

Treatment programs for the patient and family can help reduce the probabilities of recurring symptoms in the patient. From said programs, one can learn to:

  • Face the symptoms that you have, even while taking medicines
  • Sleep well and stay away from psychoactive drugs
  • Take medications correctly and know how to manage the side effects
  • Pay attention to the symptoms; know the warning signs and what to do when they reappear
  • Figure out what triggers the episodes and how to avoid the triggers

 

Psychotherapy with a professional qualified in mental health can help persons with bipolar disorder.

Gene or region studied

  • LAMP3
  • ANK3
  • SLC35F4
  • NCAN
  • FKBP5
  • 6p21.1
  • 20p13
  • DFNB31
  • 2p25.1
  • TDRD9
  • CACNA1C
  • SORCS2
  • 2q12.1
  • DGKH
  • 16q12.2
  • PALB2
  • DPP10
  • 8p12
  • CMTM8
  • RNPEPL1
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