Cause of Manic Depression

What could be a cause of manic depression? There are several factors which can cause manic depression or bipolar disorder in people, and some of them include biological and hereditary factors, medical conditions, effects of certain substance abuse, disruption or imbalance in the normal functioning of the brain, and certain infectious diseases.

Biological and Hereditary Factors

Abnormal genes with a predisposition to manic depression combined with certain biological factors act as one of the main causes of manic depression. Of course, even with a family history of bipolar disorder, people do not necessarily suffer from any mental condition, the possible reasons being the presence of a very strong support system, growing up in a secure family, being surrounded by loving and affectionate parents, siblings, and friends, etc.

On the other hand, people who have a family history of mental conditions, death of a parent, stressful relationships in marriage, separation, etc, may be more susceptible to episodes of manic depression as these factors act as triggers for the condition. Therefore, while nature is partly responsible, nurturing people in a supporting environment can prevent this condition from manifesting. Parents with a history of this condition must ensure that kids grow up in a loving and caring environment in an attempt to prevent manic depression.

Medical Conditions

Certain illnesses, such as an injury to the head, and side effects of certain medications could also be a cause of manic depression in some. Injury to the head sometimes leads to clot formation which disrupts normal brain activity and creates an imbalance, leading to manic depression.

Certain tumors in the brain have also been found to cause manic depression. Systemic lupus erythematosus is another condition that affects the brain and causes manic depression. In addition, epilepsy, which causes epileptic attacks in patients, has been found to affect the brain and could also be responsible for manic depression.

Other chronic medical conditions which could be a cause of manic depression include diabetes mellitus and AIDS. Increase or decrease in thyroxin levels, like in hypo or hyperthyroidism, too, can cause manic depression.

Substance Abuse

Some forms of drug abuse have been found to act like a trigger for manic depression. Most of the illicit drugs alter one's state of mind and affect thought processes. When this is accompanied by stress, lack of sleep, irregular eating habits and loneliness, it could act like a perfect recipe for the development of manic depression.

Disruption in the activity of the Brain

Another possible cause of manic depression could be excessive cortisol secretion. Cortisol, also referred to as the stress hormone, when released in high amounts is associated with manic depression. Similarly, an increase in certain protein levels, like the vesicular monamine transporter, has been found to cause manic depression.

Neurotransmitters like norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine, when present in lower levels, are found to be responsible for manic depression. Further studies are being conducted to identify and examine the effect of particular neurotransmitters on manic depression.

Infectious Diseases

Documented research studies suggest that certain viral infections could be a cause of manic depression. The viruses which are currently under the microscope include herpes simplex 2 virus and borna virus.


Besides the above, certain medications like birth control pills, etc, have been found to cause manic depression in a few persons. However, it is generally a combination of genetic as well as environmental factors which lead to manic depression or bipolar disorder.

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