To learn more about active clinical research trials studying Mood Disorders including Bipolar Disorder, click here.
Institute of Psychiatric Research Bipolar Genetics Study
Welcome to the home page of the Collaborative Genomic Study of Bipolar Disorder at the
Institute of Psychiatric Research of the Indiana University School of Medicine, located in Indianapolis, IN.
Manic-depressive illness, known in medical terms as bipolar disorder, is characterized
by high and low mood states that generally last weeks or months.
Available evidence suggests that not only is this a fairly common affliction, occurring in
one to three percent of the general population, but that it runs in families.
Close relatives of people suffering from bipolar illness are 3 to 6 times more likely to
develop either depression or manic-depressive illness than the general
population. Unlike major depression, which can occur at any age, manic-depressive illness
generally begins before the age of 30. Manic episodes are characterized by euphoria,
constant talkativeness or movement, grandiose thoughts, decreased need for sleep,
distractibility, and reckless behavior. When severe mania sets in, thinking becomes disorganized
and unrealistic. Behavior gets out of control, so that patients require hospitalization to protect
both themselves and those around them.
Untreated, the manic phase can last as long as three months. As it abates, the patient
may have a period of normal mood and behavior. But eventually the depressive phase of the
illness will set in. In some, depression occurs immediately or within the next few
months. With other patients there is a long interval before the next manic or
depressive episode. Depressive episodes consist of feelings of worthlessness and
hopelessness, inability to concentrate, thoughts of death or suicide, change in appetite
or weight, and fatigue or loss of energy.
Anyone who suspects they or a loved one suffers from manic-depressive illness should
receive a complete medical evaluation to rule out any other mental or physical disorders.
Once diagnosed, bipolar disorder is a highly treatable condition. Management is
primarily medical and consists of drugs such as lithium or Valproate. In addition to medical
management, many affected patients will benefit from psychotherapy or counseling.
Description adapted from the Lets Talk Facts About
Manic Depressive Bipolar Disorder Handout produced by the APA Joint Commission
on Public Affairs and the Division of Public Affairs, Ó 1992
American Psychiatric Association (Revised 1997).
This web site is designed to provide information on bipolar disorder, details about
participating in our search for genes, online forms to sign up for our study, and links to
other information that people with bipolar disorder, their relatives and friends may find
useful in their own search for information and support.
"Now we recognize that Bipolar Disorder is a medical disorder. It is
similar to diabetes or hypertension or thyroid disease: it results from chemical
abnormalities. It can be treated with medication. People who have this illness
are just like everybody else when the mood disorder is controlled" John
Nurnberger, Jr., M.D., Ph.D.
"Despite impressive progress, two thirds of people with manic depression are
not properly diagnosed or treated. With accurate diagnosis, effective medication,
and proper support, many people with manic depression can lead normal, productive,
fulfilling lives." NAMI pamphlet, "Understanding Manic
"The crime, if you will, is manic-depressive illness, a psychiatric disorder
that affects at least 2 million Americans. The suspects are genes. The
detectives are researchers at Indiana University Medical Center." E.B.
Schoch in The Indianapolis Star, November 23, 1997.
I.U. is collaborating in their quest with eleven other academic centers around the country.
Copyright © 1998 - 2004 Institute of Psychiatric
Research, Indiana University
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Last updated: April 29, 2008.