Genetics, as well as environmental factors, both contribute to the development of bipolar disorder. The most current data suggest that bipolar disorder is 60 to 85% heritable. By having a clear understanding of how bipolar disorder is linked to your family history, you will have a better idea of what the chances are of passing along this condition to your children.

Bipolar Disorder and Family History

One study found that if one parent has bipolar disorder and the other does not, there is a 15 to 30% chance that their child will inherit bipolar disorder. If both parents have bipolar disorder, there is a 50 to 75% chance that their child will have bipolar disorder as well.

These statistics are compared to the one to four percent risk in the average population. Bipolar symptoms exist along a spectrum, and the severity or duration of symptoms may also be inherited.

Genetics in Bipolar Disorder 

Even though bipolar disorder runs in families, scientists have struggled to find the genetic reasons why. Studies have failed to find a single gene responsible for inheriting bipolar disorder. However, several chromosomal regions have a small susceptibility in causing bipolar disorder like ANK3, CACNA1C, NCAN, ODZ4.

Genetics can also play a role in how someone with bipolar disorder responds to medication. For example, those with two inactive copies of the CYP206 gene can be poor metabolizers to certain drugs. Response to lithium, one of the primary mood stabilizers used to treat bipolar disorder, is also affected by genetics.

Environmental Factors

Exposure to specific environmental factors can also affect whether or not a person develops bipolar disorder. Genetically susceptible people should avoid consuming stimulants like caffeine or nicotine, especially in their youth. Early-onset of stimulant use has been linked to bipolar severity. Childhood trauma has also been linked to bipolar disorder, specifically emotional neglect.

Although not yet fully understood, the chances of developing bipolar disorder can depend on genetic factors. However, the development of this mental health disorder can also be caused by environmental factors. At Alta Loma, we understand how difficult struggling with bipolar disorder can be, and we are here to help you manage your symptoms. Located in Georgetown, Texas, we can provide you with individualized therapy, medication management, coping skills, education, and much more. Call us today at (866) 457-3843 to learn more about the services we offer.