A woman walks past a display of a brain slice of patient "H.M." at the press preview for the MIT 150 Exhibition at the MIT Museum
A woman walks past a display of a brain slice of patient "H.M." at the press preview for the MIT 150 Exhibition at the MIT Museum. Reuters

Medical researchers said that people with bipolar disorder can vary from that of others with the condition, but all of their experiences include features that fall into seven classes of phenotypes or characteristics,

In fact, not one genetic change, chemical imbalance or life event, lies at the heart of every case of the mental health condition once known as manic depression.

"There are many routes to this disease, and many routes through it," said lead author Melvin McInnis from the University of Michigan.

"We have found that there are many biological mechanisms which drive the disease, and many interactive external influences on it. All of these elements combine to affect the disease as patients experience it," McInnis further added.

According to researchers, the findings showed the mental health disorder has seven potential risk factors. These are,

  • Changes in cognition, which includes thinking, reasoning and emotion processing
  • Psychological dimensions such as personality and temperament
  • Measures of behaviours related to substance use or abuse - called motivated behaviours
  • Aspects of the person's life story involving family and intimate relationships and traumas
  • Patterns of sleep and circadian rhythms
  • Measures of how patients' symptoms change over time and respond to treatment

The study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology. The research team have examined over 1,100 people for 12 years. OUt of all the participants, 730 people had the disorder and 277 were normal individuals.

In addition, several key factors and trends were observed in people with bipolar disorder.

The researchers found that bipolar patients were three and a half times more likely to experience chronic migraines.They were also more likely to have co-occurring eating-anxiety disorders and substance use issues, as well as metabolic syndrome.

Moreover, many bipolar disorder participants experienced some sort of childhood trauma, than those without the mental illness.

On the other hand, researchers claimed in their study that poor sleep caused an influx of severity in bipolar symptoms in women, while it did not affect men.

(With inputs from IANS)