Medical professionals do not completely understand bipolar disorder. The symptomology is clear, yet patients experience different levels of mood fluctuation at different rates. Some individuals experience primarily one symptom or another, and these symptoms can closely resemble those of other conditions, such as simple depression or schizophrenia.
There is no clinical test for bipolar disorder; rather, a diagnosis is made on the basis of reported behavior and tests that eliminate other possibilities. For all these reasons and more, professionals often misunderstand and misdiagnose bipolar disorder.
Suspected Causes of Bipolar Disorder
Hormones may encourage bipolar disorder to develop, but they do not make the list of suspected causes. Mental health specialists believe bipolar disorder results from a combination of internal and external factors, just as with other conditions like cancer or diabetes coming from environmental factors that trigger a latent genetic predisposition.
How Fluctuating Hormone Levels may Impact Bipolar Disorder
Although medical professionals have not indicated hormones as a possible cause of bipolar disorder, it is likely that fluctuating hormone levels contribute to the condition. Bipolar disorder is considered a mood spectrum disorder, a condition that shifts moods from one extreme to the other.
Hormone levels may also cause rapid or extreme mood changes. Additionally, the hormones of someone with bipolar disorder may combine with stress to trigger an episode. It may be in some cases that all other factors were in place to experience an episode, and fluctuating hormone levels were the spark that lit the fuse.
Women suffer the effects of changing hormone levels more profoundly than do men. Some women experience fluctuating hormones to such a degree that they commonly experience depression or extreme mood swings. The result may be so severe that their moods resemble the shifts in bipolar disorder. This can present problems for diagnosis, because a doctor may think bipolar disorder is present when a patient in fact suffers from hormonal issues. Of course, a woman with bipolar disorder who experiences mood swings due to fluctuating hormones is likely to suffer more frequent and more severe episodes.