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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Is bipolar disorder genetic?

Resolved Question:

Is bipolar disorder genetic?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

There are many contributing factors to Bipolar disorder, genetics being one. Researchers do believe that Bipolar can run in families and they are working on a way to identify the gene they think may cause Bipolar. But for now, it is thought that there are many possible causes of Bipolar including:

Genetics- it has been shown that children of parents with Bipolar disorder have a four to six times higher risk of getting the disorder themselves compared with children from families without the disorder.

Environment- it is thought that stress or other environmental issues may trigger a predisposition to Bipolar disorder. Researchers have studied identical twins where one has the disorder and one does not. They feel that environmental influences could have been a deciding factor.

Biological- in people with a serious illness such as Bipolar, it is thought that the chemicals serotonin and dopamine are reduced in the brain therefore causing disorders such as depression and Bipolar. Medications for these disorders specifically target the chemicals to increase them in the brain and reduce the symptoms of the disorders.

Research continues to work to find a cause. Medications and therapy are the two main treatments for Bipolar. Self help and support are also vital in helping the person and their family cope. Organizations such as NAMI can assist you if you have the disorder or know someone who does.

I hope this has helped you,

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