Why people with bipolar disorder can feel hopeful about the future

Advancement of treatment options for bipolar disorder

In more recent years, researchers have gained more understanding about how the brain is wired and how that can play a role in the advancement of treatment options for bipolar disorder. Direct-to-brain treatments, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation, have become increasingly studied recently as potential stand alone or adjunctive treatment for bipolar disorder.

“These new forms of ‘neuromodulation’ address brain circuitry,” says Dr. Levitt. “If we can understand which circuits are misfiring, and we can address those circuits with a variety of very direct treatments, it offers new possibility for the treatment of bipolar disorder.”

He adds that bipolar disorder is, in part, a vascular disorder. “The structure and function of blood vessels inside the brain are important for the occurrence and progress of bipolar disorder,” Dr. Levitt explains. “In addition, there is growing evidence that inflammatory factors may play a part in the progression of the disease. If we can understand which areas are inflamed and which areas have issues with blood vessels, we may be able to target our treatments to that specific area of the brain, we may be able to control and suppress and perhaps even cure the illness.”

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