Smoking During Pregnancy Increases Bipolar Disorder Risk
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10-23-13 Category: Mental Health

The negative effects of smoking have now been known for years. From lung cancer to premature death, cigarettes affect nearly every organ in the human body. One in every five deaths in the United States is attributed to cigarette smoking, totaling around 450,000 every year, which is more than the annual total of deaths from autoimmune diseases, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle accidents, suicides, and murders combined.

Before fully understanding the negative impact of cigarette smoke on growing fetuses, women were smoking while pregnant.

Low birth rate babies, stillborn births, and sudden infant death syndrome became common among the babies born to these mothers.

Smoking while pregnant is detrimental to the physical health of the baby, and new studies are showing that it is also detrimental to the mental health of a baby. Results prove that smoking while pregnant is actually linked to the later diagnosis of bipolar disorder in offspring.

The Study:

Researchers compiled data on 79 cases of adults who had been diagnosed with dipolar disorder, and who also had mothers who smoked while pregnant, and on 654 comparison subjects. The teams at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and the Department of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, in collaboration with scientists at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research dissected the data.

Women who agreed to participate in the study were pregnant from 1959 to 1966. The Child Health and Development Study, the CHDS, was based on these women who smoked during pregnancy, and whose children could be evaluated throughout their lives.

The study found that maternal smoking during pregnancy was associated with a twofold increased risk of bipolar disorder in their offspring.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

This mental illness, categorized as a mood disorder, causes the user to have mood swings that go from major depression, that can be clinically diagnosed, to manic episodes that lead a sufferer to dangerous behaviors.

Major Depression

This side of bipolar disorder involves overly long periods of feeling sad or hopeless and loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, including sex.

Behaviorally, the person experiencing the symptoms of Bipolar will feel tired, fatigued, or slowed down by daily tasks, will have difficulty concentrating, making decisions, and remembering tasks and information, will feel restless and irritable, will exhibit noticeable changes in eating, sleeping, and other daily habits, and will possibly be thinking about death, often to the point of suicide attempts.

When a major depressive episode shifts, the individual can then swing to a manic episode. There is generally little warning of the shift,

Manic Episodes

When the opposite of major depression occurs, a person with Bipolar Disorder is in a manic episode, or hypomanic episode when less severe. This is a time of long periods of being irritable, but feeling overly happy, extremely outgoing, and even “high” without the use of drugs or alcohol.

Drastic changes in behavior also occur in the form of rapid speech, quickly jumping from talking about one topic to talking about another, being easily distracted, taking on new projects, having increased effort for and interest in activities, having a skewed understanding in one’s own abilities, which can get highly dangerous, experiencing a majorly decreased need for sleep, and impulsively engaging in high-risk behaviors in an insatiable search for pleasure.

Bipolar Disorder is a debilitating disorder when not properly identified and treated.

Treating Bipolar Disorder

Whether caused by a mother who smoked while pregnant, genetics, naturally occurring brain chemistry imbalance, or an other unknown method, Bipolar Disorder can be treated with a combination of appropriate medication and psychotherapy. Mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and atypical anti-psychotics are all used on a case-by case basis.

Therapeutically, those diagnosed with Bipolar often benefit from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, family-focused therapy, psycho-education, and interpersonal and social rhythm therapy. Any combination that is found to be helpful for a client with bipolar disorder can be performed by any licensed clinical social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, or mental health counselors.

While bipolar disorder is not curable, the symptoms are well-managed when a proven effective regime of ongoing medication management and psychotherapy are consistently followed. Bipolar disorder, that is actually diagnosed as either Bipolar I or Bipolar II. If you suspect that you or someone in your life has been experiencing the symptoms of either type, you can find out more by contacting Sovereign Health.

Bipolar disorder, that is actually diagnosed as either Bipolar I or Bipolar II. If you suspect that you or someone in your life has been experiencing the symptoms of either type, you can find out more by contacting Sovereign Health.

Learn more about the treatment Sovereign Health offers by watching this testimonial:

Blog post by: Marissa Maldonado

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