Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that affects children, teens, and adults who have their share of depressive and manic episodes. It can include symptoms like having no urge to sleep, increased rate of speech, rapid ideas, getting distracted, and impulsive behaviors. While experts do not know what causes bipolar disorder, research suggests there are genetic and environmental components that cause its development.

How Bipolar Disorder Happens Genetically

For hereditary diseases like breast cancer, physicians know what genes have been passed down to certain family members and how likely it is to be passed on. For bipolar disorder, on the other hand, the genes are not known, which makes it hard to explain how the condition is passed on genetically. It could be that several different genes contribute to bipolar disorder each in their own small way. A study in the Journal of Psychiatry & Neurosciences says people who have one first-degree relative like a parent or sibling with bipolar disorder have a 15% to 35% greater chance of also developing the condition. If you have two first-degree relatives with bipolar disorder, your chances increase to 75% of developing it. People with bipolar disorder have a 10% chance of having a child who is also bipolar.

How Medical Conditions Lead to Bipolar Disorder

Many people with bipolar disorder tend to have other mental health conditions as well, like depression, anxiety, and PTSD. A 2018 paper in the American Journal of Psychiatry looked at 6,788 people who experienced psychosis as a result of drugs or alcohol. 32.2% of people developed bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. The reason for this relationship is not known, but if you currently have a mental health condition, it is important to be able to recognize bipolar symptoms and seek help if the symptoms appear. 

If You Have a Genetic Link to Bipolar Disorder

If you are worried you will develop bipolar disorder because you have a relative with that same condition, there is no way for you to prevent it. All you can do is learn how to manage the symptoms. Eating a healthy diet and getting a good amount of sleep can be helpful. Your family can help you on this journey by referring you to a good therapist and other treatment options. By knowing your loved ones are bipolar, you can lean on each other for support.

Bipolar disorder can be a real struggle if left untreated. The causes can be genetic and/or because of a medical condition, although the reasons for this are unknown. Sometimes, the “why” is not as important as being aware of what you can do once you realize you are bipolar. Bipolar disorder can lead to a mixture of manic and depressive episodes. You may feel like you have no control over them, but the right help can give you that control back. At Alta Loma, you and your family are invited to get the help you need to manage your symptoms for bipolar disorder, as well as any other kinds of mental illnesses. You can receive full psychiatric evaluations, therapeutic recreational activities, family treatment, and more. Along with your family, our skilled staff can work with you as a team to create personalized plans to guide you on this journey. To learn more about how we can help, please call us today at (866) 457-3843.