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Med Hypotheses. 2009 Oct;73(4):580-4. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2009.05.029. Epub 2009 Jul 8.

Is 'bipolar disorder' the brain's autopoietic response to schizophrenia?

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Faculty of Humanities, The University of Manchester, Booth Street West, Manchester M15 6PB, UK.


Evidence is accumulating that schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are related conditions. This paper proposes a particular form of relatedness. If 'schizophrenia' is a mind/brain 'trapped' between waking and dreaming, in a disordered in-between state, then bipolar 'disorder' could actually be an attempt to restore order. The mind/brain is a self-producing, self-organizing system. Autopoiesis applies to such systems. Neuromodulation accomplishes self-organization in the mind/brain. If schizophrenia is a state in-between waking and dreaming, characterized by aminergic/cholinergic interpenetration and dopaminergic imbalance then bipolar 'disorder' could be a modulatory response. This autopoietic reaction may take the form of either aminergic hyperactivity aimed at producing a purer waking state, (precipitating mania in the waking state), or cholinergic hyperactivity aimed at producing a purer dreaming state, (producing depression in the waking state), or both, resulting in rapid cycling bipolar disorder. Thus bipolar activity may be an autopoietic response aimed at restoring differentiation to the in-between state of schizophrenia.

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