What Triggers Bipolar Disorder?

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Bipolar disorder can be triggered by a fluctuation in brain chemistry, the use of alcohol or drugs, viruses or a reaction to major life events. Find out how bipolar can be triggered, which usually does not occur until early adulthood, with information from a licensed mental health counselor in this free video on mental health conditions.

Part of the Video Series: Mental Health & Behavior
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Video Transcript

I'm Dr. David Thomas. I'm a practicing psychotherapist in Tampa, Florida with the Whitford Thomas Group. Today I'm going to speak to you about what triggers bipolar disorders. First of all, bipolar disorder is a mood disorder. Two components to bipolar disorder, you have a manic side, and a depressed side. Most experts would agree that bipolar disorder is not learned, it's a chemical imbalance in the system that you're born with. Usually doesn't manifest itself until early adulthood. So since it's more chemically driven the thing that would trigger a bipolar disorder the most would be some fluctuation in brain chemistry. Also, other things that may trigger a bipolar disorder, again would be chemically driven, would be the use of alcohol or drugs. Also viruses may trigger a bipolar disorder. There'll be some situations where, because regardless of whether it's chemically driven or thought driven, cognitively driven, that there's always a thinking component, even with bipolar disorder. So it could be an individuals reaction to certain life stresses or hassles of life that could also trigger probably more of a depressed episode than a manic episode, but certainly thinking or ones response to certain life's hassles or stressors in their life could also trigger a depressed episode. So again, most of the triggers for bipolar disorder tend to be chemically driven, but they also can be driven by thought, one's reactions to life's stressors. I'm Dr. David Thomas speaking to you today about the triggers of bipolar disorder.

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