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Behaving impulsively and taking part in a lot of pleasurable, high-risk behaviors, such as spending sprees, impulsive sex, and impulsive business investments.
Olivia Dean receives funding from the NHMRC, Servier, The Stanley Medical Research Institute, Australian Rotary Heatlh and the Marian and E.H. Current treatments for bipolar disorder are more effective for the symptoms of mania than for depression.
Little understood and lacking effective drugs for addressing the scope of its symptoms, bipolar disorder can wreak havoc with the lives of people who suffer from it.
Now an over-the-counter drug is offering hope for treating the sometimes deadly depressive stage of this disorder.
Bipolar disorder affects approximately 1% to 2% of the population and is characterized by two illness phases – mania and depression. The symptoms of mania include increased energy, decreased sleep, enhanced impulsivity and elevated mood while the symptoms of depression include decreased mood and energy, altered sleep patterns, suicidal thoughts and a lack of motivation.
People with bipolar disorder tend to spend more time in the depressive phase than the manic phase.
What’s more, standard medications used to treat unipolar (clinical) depression aren’t as effective for treating the depressive phase of bipolar disorder (commonly known as bipolar depression).
We don’t know the precise mechanisms that lead to bipolar disorder but there’s consensus among the research community that it involves complex interactions of many factors. One of the few things we do know is that people with bipolar disorder have increased oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress is a state in which the brain’s capacity to defend against free radicals is overwhelmed, leading to cell damage and adverse changes in the way cells function. Examples of oxidation in action are rusting iron, or when your apple turns brown once you’ve bitten it. During normal brain function, free radicals are produced and have healthy functions in the brain’s biological systems. It is only when the levels of free radicals exceed the levels of antioxidants that oxidative stress occurs.
N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) – a registered medicine currently used to treat paracetamol overdose and as a mucolytic (breaks down phlegm) in cystic fibrosis – is a modified version of this naturally occurring amino acid. Having previously shown that NAC reduces the core symptoms of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, our research team is now studying NAC for the treatment of unipolar (clinical) depression and autism.

In our latest study, we investigated the potential benefits of N-acetyl cysteine as an adjunctive (or add-on) treatment for bipolar depression.
Given the increased oxidative stress in bipolar disorder, we studied NAC to see if increasing the levels of the primary antioxidant in the brain (glutathione) could improve the symptoms experienced by those with the disorder. The study involved 149 people (aged between 22 and 70 years) with bipolar depression who were recruited across several sites including Melbourne, Geelong, Sydney and Brazil. All of the participants in the study received 2 grams of NAC a day for two months, in addition to any medication they were already taking. This “add-on” design is more attractive to participants as they can continue with their current treatment. We found that participants' depressive symptoms decreased significantly over the two-month period.
This suggests NAC may be effective as an add-on therapy for the treatment of bipolar disorder. And unlike what happens in many clinical trials, NAC was available for purchase at the end of the study. Further studies are required to fully explore the potential of NAC as a treatment for bipolar depression even though these results are promising. The impact of bipolar disorder can be significant and while current therapies are useful, many people either don’t respond or tolerate treatment. Studies such as these provide hope for newer and safer therapies that may lead to better outcomes for people with the disorder. Australians are less likely to see a person with an anxiety disorder as warranting professional help. St Vincent’s scandal: what is cancer chemotherapy and why is correct dosing important? Based on reliable and well-known health sources from the Centers for Disease Control to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill to the World Health Organization, this is a fresh, new, visually appealing and easily accessible look at Bipolar Disorder, a surprisingly prevalent illness.
Incorporating research and statistics never before included in a mental health infographic, “The Facts About Bipolar Disorder” addresses issues unique to the disorder, such as length of hospitalization, costs of the illness, frequency of occurrence, medication effectiveness, suicide rates, and more.
As you learn when ‘manic-depression’ morphed into ‘Bipolar Disorder,’ you can digest facts that everyone ought to know, but too few people do, with a quick, colorful glance. Perhaps you simply prefer not to use medication to treat your depression or you want to avoid psychiatric medications in order to become pregnant or avoid other drug interactions.

A mixed state mood such as a depressed mood along with restless also an over activity of a manic episode etc. In this matter genes can play an important role, so if you have a relative with this disease of bipolar disorder then be alert, because your chance of developing this disease is higher.
Some how there may be a physical problem linked up with this disease, because the brain system always control the mood so, it can often be controlled by the medication. Moreover you may also experience that something is missing there this known as “hallucinations”. We use a Creative Commons Attribution NoDerivatives licence, so you can republish our articles for free, online or in print.
And suicide, the most catastrophic consequence of the disorder, is more of a risk during depression. This may occur both through increased oxidative stress or a decrease in antioxidant capacity. It also more closely reflects reality, as people with bipolar disorder are often given combinations of treatments.
And overall, participants reported improved functioning (such as increased rates of work or better social interactions) and quality of life. N-acetyl cysteine can be purchased from a limited number of pharmacies in Australia and is also available from online sources. Have you found that your depressive symptoms are affecting your work, friendships and family? She is employed by the Mental Health Research Institute and hold adjunct appointments with Deakin University and the University of Melbourne. The Brain Chemistry Center is dedicated to the treatment of individuals who suffer with clinical depression.
Or maybe, you find that side effects such as weight gain, sexual dysfunction or sedation make it difficult for you to stay on medications? This wonderful alternative to medication is safe, non-invasive, has minimal side effects and is highly effective.

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