Bipolar disorder is a serious mental health condition that causes extreme mood shifts that can last weeks or months at a time. Someone with bipolar disorder has episodes of depression and episodes of mania. Both the highs and lows can be dangerous for someone with bipolar disorder. Without treatment, the disorder is extremely disruptive in a person’s life.
If you or someone you love lives with bipolar disorder, it’s only natural to wonder about the genetic link. You may worry that you could inherit it from your parent or pass it along to your children. By knowing the causes of bipolar disorder, you can be on the lookout for the signs and get early treatment if you suspect something is wrong.
What Causes Bipolar Disorder?
As is the case with many mental health conditions, the exact cause of bipolar disorder is unclear. Instead, scientists have found risk factors that increase a person’s likelihood of developing the disorder. Risk factors of bipolar disorder include:
- Stressful or traumatic life events
- Traumatic head injuries
- Substance abuse
- Sleep disorders or disruptions
- Physical illnesses
While there are many risk factors and triggers for bipolar disorder, genetics play a large role. In fact, bipolar disorder is widely considered the most inheritable mental illness.
Is Bipolar Disorder Hereditary?
If someone has a biological parent with bipolar disorder, they have a one in ten chance of developing the disorder as well. Experts estimate that genetics determine 60 to 80 percent of someone’s chances of developing bipolar disorder.
That sounds scary to someone with a first-degree relative with the condition. However, there is a positive way to look at this. As much as 40 percent of your chances of developing the condition are determined by environmental factors.
You can lay a solid foundation for your mental health by:
- Learning healthy coping mechanisms
- Taking care of your body
- Starting therapy now
- Learning about your emotions
This foundation can make you more resilient to life’s challenges, lowering your stress and making you less susceptible to mental illness. If you do develop bipolar disorder, you’ll be better equipped to cope with the symptoms and get help.
Get Help for Bipolar Disorder Early
If you are at a higher risk of developing bipolar disorder, try to take a deep breath. You are not doomed. In fact, knowing that you have this risk is an advantage. Early treatment is vital for people with bipolar disorder. By seeing someone as soon as symptoms begin, you can keep the disorder from progressing and learn to thrive.
Bipolar Disorder Treatment in North Kingstown, RI
At South County Psychiatry, we treat all of our patients with the compassion and respect they deserve. If you show signs of bipolar disorder or have a diagnosis and need help, give us a call.
A combination of therapy and close medication management is typically the best course of treatment for bipolar disorder. That’s why we offer both of those services and more in our offices. We hope to see you soon so that we can help you not just live with bipolar disorder, but thrive.