Body functioning

Alterations in body functioning have been found in people mental disorders. For bipolar disorder, these include changes in body movements, sleep disturbances, neurological functioning, and olfactory functioning. Click on the links or the tabs below to access the information, or browse via the drop-down menu on the left.

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Movement disorders

What are movement disorders in people with bipolar disorder? Catatonia was originally categorised as a subtype of schizophrenia, but it is found in people with other medical, neurological, and psychiatric disorders, including bipolar disorder. Catatonia is characterised by repetitive non-goal-directed movements or goal-directed movements that are executed in an idiosyncratic way, often affecting gait. Other forms of catatonia include immobility, mutism, staring, and rigidity. Tardive dyskinesia is a ‘hyper-kinetic’ (excessive movement) disorder, characterised by jerky, involuntary movements, usually of the face and/or limbs. Parkinsonism is another common movement disorder associated with schizophrenia and is a ‘hypo-kinetic’ (reduced movement) disorder, characterised…

Neurological soft signs

What are neurological soft signs in bipolar disorder? Neurological soft signs (NSS) are abnormalities identified by clinical examination. They are referred to as ‘soft’ because they are not related to a localised pathological lesion and are not part of a well-defined neurological syndrome. NSS can be grouped into three categories: integrative sensory functioning, motor coordination, and complex motor sequencing. Integrative sensory functioning includes deficits in bilateral extinction (difficulty perceiving stimuli when presented to both hemispheres simultaneously), impaired audio-visual integration, agraphaesthesia (inability to recognise by touch letters and numbers drawn on the skin) and astereognosis (inability to identify an object by…

Olfactory functioning

What is olfactory functioning in bipolar disorder? Olfactory processes may be dysfunctional in people with bipolar disorder. These processes are hierarchical and involve lower-order processing (detection of the stimulus) and higher-order processing (discrimination and identification of the stimulus). Measures of olfactory acuity include odor detection, identification, discrimination, intensity, and quality. Odour detection occurs at the lowest chemical concentration needed to register an odourant. Odour identification draws on a person’s knowledge and memory to correctly label the smell. Odour discrimination involves comparing the differences between multiple stimuli, judging odours as pleasant or unpleasant, or comparing the relative concentration of odours. What…

Sleep disturbance

What is sleep disturbance in bipolar disorder? People with bipolar disorder may show disturbances in the amount or quality of sleep they receive. Typically sleep follows a characteristic pattern of four stages, where stage 1 is a state of drowsiness and early sleep; stage 2 comprises the largest component of the sleep cycle and is the first complete loss of awareness of the external environment; stage 3 is a deep, slow-wave sleep; and the fourth stage is rapid eye movement (REM) sleep where memorable dreaming and muscle paralysis occurs. Sleep disturbance can be measured in many ways, including the total…

NeuRA Libraries

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