Inside The Bipolar Brain

Scientists can't point to one lobe that makes a person bipolar, but they have identified several areas that are involved in ways they are just beginning to understand

VENTRAL STRIATUM

WHAT IT DOES: Helps the brain process rewards

WHAT HAS GONE WRONG: Studies show overactivity and a 30% loss in gray matter in this region, causing people to lose judgment about how certain behaviors, such as overspending or being sexually indiscriminate, will affect their lives

PREFRONTAL CORTEX

WHAT IT DOES: Parts of the prefrontal cortex regulate emotion and are instrumental in processing rewards and motivation

WHAT HAS GONE WRONG: Studies show a 20% to 40% reduction in gray matter-the result of a loss of the branches that connect neurons

AMYGDALA

WHAT IT DOES: One of the brain's emotional centers;...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!