Is Bipolar Disorder Genetic?

Paul Bright By Paul Bright, 26th Sep 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Mind & Spirit>Mental Health

Bipolar Disorder is quickly becoming a “hot” mental health disorder throughout the media, thanks to a few celebrities and sports starts that have come out, so to speak. While there is still research about bipolar disorder’s roots still going on, many inquire about its roots. Is bipolar disorder genetic?

Bipolar Disorder and Genetics

Generally speaking, Bipolar I disorder is a cognitive disorder in which patients have periods of highly-energized mania, followed by a period of normalcy, then a period of severe depression. These periods can last several months. Bipolar II is characterized by manic episodes that are not as intense (hypomania) and longer periods of depression. This link shows a more comprehensive list of bipolar disorder symptoms.

Bipolar Disorder and Genetics

Bipolar disorder is not completely genetic. However, there are some genetic patterns that indicate bipolar disorder has genetic roots. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, children of a parent with bipolar disorder are four to six times more likely to develop bipolar disorder, although the overall chance of development is very small. Yet in a twin study, research showed that one twin with bipolar disorder did not increase the chances of the other twin having it as well.

Bipolar Disorder and Your Family

Fortunately there are scientists compiling database information about bipolar disorder as we speak. The Bipolar Disorder Phenome Databaseis one source led by Johns Hopkins University. As of 2007 they had studied more than 5,700 subjects in about 1,200 families. Some of the results showed familial patterns of when manic episodes first began, severity of symptoms, and co-occurring disorders like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Bipolar Disorder and Your Family

The challenge in finding the genetic roots is examining family history. Considering the history of psychology and mania, it’s possible that manic depression went undiagnosed and sufferers were simply locked up in an institution and labeled with other disorders. Bipolar disorder used to be referred to as manic depression. In ancient times, it was also labeled as "insanity." It’s also possible that undiagnosed patients were self-medicating with substances, were socially isolated because of their symptoms, or committed suicide before a full diagnosis could be made.
If you think that bipolar disorder may run in your family, talk to your elders and other family members to see if there were people in your family line that exhibited symptoms or were hospitalized for related disorders.


Bipolar Disorder, Genetics, Mental Health, Mental Health Help, Mental Health History

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author avatar Paul Bright
I am a former military member that is now pursuing a Masters Degree in Psychology-Marriage and Family Therapy. I am also getting in shape and wish to motivate and educate others what I've learned about exercise and nutrition. I live in the Bay area. ...(more)

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author avatar Vernazoa
27th Sep 2011 (#)

I am bi-polar . I have too much dopamine in my brain chemistry.
My twin has too little dopamine in his brain. He has Parkinson disease. These are medical facts.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
18th Nov 2014 (#)

Tough to endure but seeking help will lessen the impact, thanks for the highlight - siva

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