Couldn't find what you looking for?


When it comes to a disease like bipolar disorder, there is not a simple "yes" or "no" answer when trying to answer if bipolar disorder is hereditary or not. There are very complex mechanisms involved in this disease but studies show that there is a genetic component that can predispose you if you have a family history of the disease. 

Bipolar disease is a mental health condition marked by extreme shifts in moods. Patients with severe forms of the disease can even have what we refer to in medicine as splitting. This is a phenomenon where a patient views things as either "all good" or "all bad" with no compromise in between. Generally, it is a disease that patients will present from in their late adolescence to early adulthood but in rare occurrences, the first symptoms of the disease can present at a later age. 

Bipolar disease is not really one specific disease but describes a complex cascade of symptoms. Patients will have varying degrees of symptoms and could be more depressed or manic. You may assume that a family member or partner is bipolar if they cycle from happiness to anger at the drop of a dime but in reality, only about 2.2 percent of the global population is truly affected with bipolar disease. 

Risk factors for the disease are even more ambiguous and it is currently impossible to point to a list of behaviors or factors that could predispose you to the disease. In only one recent study was a slight genetic link shown. The inheritance pattern is not a simple game of genetic probability and even if a person has genes that are linked to bipolar disease, they may be shut off so you will never see signs of the true disease. There are also theories suggesting that environmental factors can lead to bipolar disease. Substance abuse and head trauma seem to have a higher link to bipolar disease but drinking beer will not guarantee you will have the disease. 

The inheritance pattern of this disease is unclear. We have seen in medicine that there is a better chance that you may have bipolar disease if you have a first-degree family member with the disease. This means only your parents or siblings who have the disease would be included. It has also been seen that the risk of inheriting the genes for bipolar disease are greater in some families compared to others so a lot still needs to be investigated to get a better idea about this disease. 

What we have seen in medicine is that families with a history of bipolar disease also tend to have a history of other mental illnesses. This is another medical mystery as to why this happens but it is something worthwhile for you to investigate if you currently have a family member diagnosed with the disease. This may simply be attributed to other forms of bipolar disease that share symptoms seen in other diseases. This is why it is hard to diagnose the disease and quite often, a doctor will have to meet with a patient a few times and may even have to change the final diagnosis before proper therapy can begin. [1]

Still have something to ask?

Get help from other members!

Post Your Question On The Forums