Treating Bipolar Disorder With The Help Of Artificial Intelligence

Treating Bipolar Disorder With The Help Of Artificial Intelligence

Have you experienced a feeling that one moment you’re delighted and excited, and the very next moment you feel sad and depressed, having suicidal thoughts, and again feeling happy and excited? If yes, then this may be the initial symptoms of mental illness termed as bipolar disorder. Anyone who is feeling these extreme emotions is not alone, i.e., this disorder is not a rare disease. There are 46 million people around the world diagnosed with this mental illness, and an estimated 2.8% of the U.S. population is suffering from this disorder.

Although bipolar disorder has no cure, it can be managed easily with a healthy and disciplined lifestyle and the help of medicines. With the advancement of artificial intelligence, the diagnosis and management of bipolar disorder have become relatively easy. In this article, we will see how artificial intelligence can contribute to treating this disorder. Before that, let’s learn about this illness in detail.


What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that causes sudden changes in a person’s mood, behaviors, and way of functioning things. In this disorder, a person experiences an extreme emotional state that can occur during different periods of days to weeks; these are called mood episodes. These mood episodes can be classified into two types: mania or hypomania and other is depression. In mania or hypomania, a person is emotionally high, energetic, or feels unusually irritable. When people feel depressed, they can feel sad or hopeless and lose interest in everything. Most of the time, bipolar disorder is misdiagnosed with depression, which leads to wrong treatment. It can be further classified into different types.

  1. Bipolar I disorder: In this type of bipolar disorder, the person has at least one maniac episode followed by hypomanic or major depressive episodes. In this, one maniac disorder lasts for at least seven days. Sometimes, these episodes are so severe that a person needs immediate medical care.
  2. Bipolar II disorder: In this type of disorder, the person experiences a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes. Hypomanic episodes are less harsh than manic episodes.
  3. Cyclothymic disorder: In cyclothymic disorder, a person experiences recurring hypomanic and depressive episodes. These episodes are not that severe and do not last for too long enough to qualify as hypomanic or depressive episodes.
  4. Others:  In this, a person does not meet any criteria for bipolar I, II, or cyclothymia but still experiences periods of abnormal mood swings.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

A person with bipolar disorder usually has two mood episodes: one is manic, and the other is depressive. During these episodes, a person’s behavior changes significantly in sleep patterns and activities. Below is the table of some common symptoms of manic and depressive episodes: 

Symptoms of manic Symptoms of depressive 
Feeling highly irritated or touchySuddenly feeling sad, or anxious
Feeling more active than usual Lack of interest
Sleep deprivationHaving suicidal thoughts 
Talking very fast than usual toneFeeling sleepy all the time 
Feeling hungry and doing many things at one timeUnable to do even the simplest task 

Causes for Bipolar Disorder 

Even though there are no proven single causes for this disorder, scientists believe that several factors may contribute to this disorder:

  1. Genetics: Bipolar disorder can develop in a person whose family has a history of this disorder. If a person’s parents or siblings have this disorder, then there is a high chance of developing this disorder in that person.  But also, this is not certain; there are many cases of children from a family with a history of BD (bipolar Disorder) who did not develop the disorder. Some studies show that if one of the identical twins has this mental illness, the other twin may not have it.
  2. Stress: A traumatic incident like the death of loved ones, illness, a complicated relationship, and others can trigger manic and depressive episodes in a person. That’s why stress management plays a vital role in this disorder. 
  3. Brain structure and function: Scans and Tests can not diagnose Bipolar disorder, but some researchers have discovered subtle changes in the average size of some brain structures in people with this disorder. 

Diagnosis for Bipolar Disorder

Blood tests or body scans can not detect Bipolar Disorder; if a person has symptoms of mania or hypomania, they should be referred to a psychiatrist. The psychiatrists will ask you a few questions and detect if you have this disorder or not. 

These questions include symptoms, how severe they are, and how they feel during and after an episode of mania or depression. If you have any thoughts of harming yourself, you should tell the psychiatrist honestly. 

After that, the doctor may do some physical exams and tests to identify that there is no medical problem causing your symptoms.

Talking to a partner or family member about your symptoms helps doctors to gather essential information about your disorder.

The psychiatrists may refer you to maintain a daily chart of your moods, sleep patterns, activity, etc, that could help to diagnose BD and to find the proper treatment. 

After all the tests and information gathered, your condition will be compared with the criteria for bipolar and related disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Disorder (DSMS) published by the American Psychiatric Association.

Artificial Intelligence for Bipolar Disorder 

Bipolar disorder is hard to detect at an early stage because the first episode shows very subtle changes in moods, sleep patterns, and daily activities that can go unnoticed for years. To detect this in teenagers at an early stage, the University of Alberta created a machine learning model that helps to identify small changes to diagnose earlier. 

Earlier diagnosis is essential for patients suffering from BD as this helps psychiatrists treat them sooner before their condition worsens. 

This machine language model is trained by comparing patients with the disease to healthy individuals. This language model could differentiate first-episode patients from healthy ones with an accuracy of 76%. If the changes in condition worsen, an alert will be issued for medical supervision. 

bipolar disorder

An artificial Intelligence-powered chronic condition platform named Juli, founded by Bettina Hein, helps patients with this disorder to get insights into managing their chronic mental health disorders. This app tracks the behavioral patterns of patients to pinpoint triggers and help patients avoid and manage the manic-depressive cycle. The statistics show that 55.5% of users of its app experienced a reduction in mania or hypomania after using it for just 8 weeks. 

PRIORI Predicting Individual Outcomes for Rapid Intervention is a project at the University of Michigan working to develop a smartphone application and data pipeline that predicts mood stage changes of a bipolar disorder person based on screen variations during phone calls and clinical interviews. The researchers are working to develop a new version of the PRIORI app that takes a 30-second snapshot of speech every 15 minutes as the person with BD lives their everyday lives. 

PRIORI app uses different aspects of speech to recognize emotion valence and arousal. Valence means how negative or positive a person with this disorder may be feeling. Arousal means how activated or calm/tired a person is. When the app shows high arousal negative emotion, a person might feel “frustrated,” if it shows low arousal negative emotion, this might indicate “bored.” Similarly, high arousal positive emotion is “exited,” and low arousal positive emotion is “calm/content.” 

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Leveraging Artificial Intelligence in healthcare is a revolutionary step. There are already many proven cases where Artificial Intelligence surpasses human capabilities. The future of healthcare will be highly dependent on artificial intelligence. Therefore, the need for individuals well-informed about Artificial Intelligence and generative AI tools will increase in almost every sector. 

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