Thursday, March 27, 2014

Bipolar Disorder Brain - What Changes Does Manic Depression Cause in the Brain?

With modern brain imaging, it becomes clear that bipolar is not a disorder, but a brain disease, as real as cancer or a cold. While science is still investigating the differences between the brain of a normal person and the brain of a bipolar individual; here are four differences between the two.

1.) Ventral Striatum

The ventral striatum allows the brain to process rewards, such as feeling happy after eating or having sex. If someone suffers from bipolar, this part will be overactive and have a 30% loss in the amount of gray matter.

The ventral striatum also aids in judgment, such as what is considered normal or moral. Since bipolar persons suffer a reduction in this part of the brain, they will be prone to overspending or sexual promiscuity, especially when manic.

2.) Prefrontal Cortex

The prefrontal cortex allows the brain to process and regulation emotion, an important part of impulse control. For example, when one feels angry, they don't go out and hit the first person they see.

In those with bipolar disorder, there is a 20% to 40% reduction in gray matter material in the prefrontal cortex, causing rash behavior and anger control issues.

3.) Amygdala

The amygdala controls facial expressions and tones of voice. For example, if you see a person you like on the approach, neural transmissions will occur in your brain, telling you to smile. In the bipolar brain, there is a loss of gray matter in this area, causing a delay reaction in facial expressions.

4.) Hippocampus

In those with bipolar disorder, the hippocampus has lost branches that connect neurons, leading to a loss of an ability to tell the difference between danger and reward, causing a state of anxiety.

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