The relationship between bipolar disorder and mito is two way. Mito is a very complex multisytem disorder and amongst its many presentations and symptoms are a number of pyschiatric conditions including bipolar disorder. However, it does not present alone in mito but as part of an array of at least two or three other sytems as well. For more information on that you can read about mito and its symptoms on our AMDF website or USA websites like mitoaction and the UMDF.
As for bipolar disorder being a mitochondrial illness, that has come from many studies trying to examine how and why a person might develop bipolar disorder. There is now overwhelming evidence that mitochondrial dyfunction is playing a role in mood disorders. However, there is still a sizeable gap to fill to say if it is a mitochondrial disease. What evidence has shown is that the mitochondria are not working properly but the probelm is that we don't know exactly why.
In mitochondrial “disease”, the mitochondria are not working properly due to a genetic hiccup since the person has been first developing as an embryo. In mitochondrial “dysfunction” we are saying that the mitochondria are sick and not working properly but we don't know at what point they started to misbehave or what triggered it. Various genetic changes have been implicated but they could have been normal to start with then affected by factors in the environment, an illness or stress, or even later by the bipolar medications themselves. There has been no specific gene found to date that suggests the person had it from the beginning as an embryo and hence called a mitochondrial disease.
There is a great deal we don't understand about genetics and what most of our genes do. Research is continuing into this area of course and what has triggered this mitochondrial dysfunction in mood disorders. If a specific gene or genes are found as the original and sole cause, then these mood disorders may become classified as mitochondrial disease.
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