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How do bipolar disorders relate to the study of psychology?

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The behavioral abnormalities of bipolar disorder fall within the realm of the study of psychology. Bipolar disorder is a mental illness characterized by periods of extreme changes in mood, thought and behavior, according to WebMD, and psychology is a science that studies the normal and abnormal functions of the mind and behavior.

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Psychologists use behavior to study abstract mental processes, such as thoughts, emotions and memories, as explained by Medical News Today. How a person behaves is evidence of the mind functions. Some branches of psychology, including clinical psychology, provide for medical treatments that improve function and lifestyle management. Other branches of psychological study, including neuropsychology, explore the structures and processes of the brain in search of various disorders causes.

Bipolar disorder leads to alternating episodes of mania and depression, as Psychology Today notes. Individuals in the manic phase experience high energy and a sense of invincibility, which leads them to take more risks. Those in the depressive phase experience extreme depression, anger, suicidal thoughts and irritability. A person's ability to function decreases significantly during episodes of depression.

As of 2015, the exact causes of bipolar disorder remain unknown, according to WebMD. Stress, genes, and changes in the brain have all been implicated. However, evidence suggests that a hormonal imbalance in dopamine or serotonin neurotransmitters plays a significant role.

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