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Bipolar Disorders: Biological Factors

Bipolar disorders are a group of disorders characterized by the experience of alternative depressive and manic episodes. Manic episodes refer to periods of time during which the individual experiences extreme elevated, irritable, or expansive moods. Bipolar disorders are on a spectrum including bipolar I disorder (characterized by full-blown manic episodes), bipolar II disorder (characterized by depression and less severe hypomanic episodes), and cyclothymia (characterized by cycling periods of hypomania and depression that do not meet full criteria for either hypomania or depression). Numerous biological factors are associated with the development and maintenance of bipolar disorders including neurochemical factors, genetic factors, and brain structure and function.

In this entry, the key neurotransmitters implicated in bipolar disorders are reviewed, including norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin, glutamate, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), ...

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