Robin Williams Suspected of Taking Life Because of Bipolar Disorder, Circuits in the Brain Make Patients Take Risks

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By Afza Fathima | August 13, 2014 4:51 PM EST

Singer Demi Lovato had checked into a treatment facility for "emotional and physical issues" after a disagreement with a dancer in 2010.

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Singer Demi Lovato serves as grand marshal during the 44th annual Los Angeles Pride parade in West Hollywood, California June 8, 2014.

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The Disney actress told People that she had issues with anorexia, bulimia and bipolar disorder, which is an illness affecting the person mentally by going through episodes of extreme energy, mania and depression. Lovato said that during those times, she would stay up until 5.30 in the morning, writing seven songs a night. 

Comedian Robin Williams, who passed away on August 12, was suffering from bipolar disorder. It is suspected that he was going through bouts of depression when he decided to take his life.

Celebrities Stephen Fry and Catherine Zeta-Jones have been open about their sufferings from bipolar disorder which has led to the awareness of the condition.

Research by the University of Manchester and University of Liverpool found circuits in the brain which show that patients with bipolar disease have a tendency to pursue and relish rewarding experience which guide them away from taking safe risks. The findings were published in the journal BRAIN, which used imaging of the brain to show that neural pathways are the reason for the disorder. This study will help evaluate and monitor therapies for this deadly disease.

To treat bipolar disorder, lifelong treatment is required. A psychiatrist or a team of psychologists, social workers and psychiatric nurses treat the condition. Treatments vary from medication to counselling and even support groups. 

Initially, to manage mood swings, medications are taken after which the doctor decides which treatment would be the best for the particular patient. Maintenance treatment is also important to keep a check so that there is no relapse of symptoms or full-blown mania or depression. 

In the case of additional problems with alcohol or drug addiction, substance abuse treatment is also required. In extreme cases where one is behaving dangerously with suicidal feelings or becoming psychotic, hospitalisation is required.

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(Photo: REUTERS / Jonathan Alcorn)
Singer Demi Lovato serves as grand marshal during the 44th annual Los Angeles Pride parade in West Hollywood, California June 8, 2014.
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